Home >> Alabama >> Princeton >> Interior Design Degrees Online


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Princeton AL

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Princeton AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

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

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Princeton AL

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Princeton AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Princeton Alabama interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new profession in Princeton AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Why Do You Want to Be 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Princeton AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Princeton Alabama employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Princeton AL college you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Princeton AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Princeton AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Princeton AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Princeton home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Princeton AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College near Princeton Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Princeton AlabamaPicking the ideal interior design program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Princeton Alabama.