Home >> Alabama >> Princeton >> Interior Design Courses Online


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Princeton AL

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design College

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Princeton AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.

Start Your Interior Design Career By Requesting Free Info on Local Schools Below

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Princeton AL

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Princeton AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Princeton Alabama interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Princeton AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Why Train to Become an Interior Designer?

Princeton AL student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Princeton AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Princeton Alabama employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Princeton AL college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Princeton AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Princeton AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Princeton AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Princeton home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Princeton AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Princeton Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Princeton AlabamaChoosing the ideal interior design program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Princeton Alabama.