How to Select the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Arlington 36722
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Arlington AL, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will address those issues and other important 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 class options are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Arlington AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Arlington AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training required to start your new profession in Arlington AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior 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 creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For anyone wishing’ to study in the comfort of their Arlington AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Arlington AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s essential to verify that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Arlington AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides providing an excellent education, the Arlington AL school you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Arlington AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Arlington AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Arlington AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Arlington home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Arlington AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in an Interior Design School near Arlington AL?
Perhaps you are considering attending an interior design degree program in the Arlington Alabama area. If so, you may find the following information about the location of your new school campus interesting and informative.
Arlington County, Virginia
Arlington County is a county in the Commonwealth of Virginia, often referred to simply as Arlington or Arlington, Virginia. The county is situated in Northern Virginia on the southwestern bank of the Potomac River directly across from the District of Columbia, of which it was once a part. The county is coterminous with the U.S. Census Bureau's census-designated place of Arlington. Arlington is considered to be the second-largest "principal city" of the Washington metropolitan area.
In 2018, the county's population was estimated at 237,521, making Arlington the sixth-largest county in Virginia by population; if it were incorporated as a city, would be the fourth-most populous city in the state. With a land area of 26 square miles (67 km2), Arlington is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the U.S., and by reason of state law regarding population density, it has no incorporated towns within its borders. It is the 5th highest-income county in the U.S. by median family income.
Due to the county's proximity to downtown Washington, D.C., Arlington is home to many important installations for the national capital region and U.S. government, including the Pentagon, Reagan National Airport, and Arlington National Cemetery. Many schools and universities have campuses in Arlington, including George Mason University's Antonin Scalia Law School and Schar School of Policy and Government, as well as satellite campuses of the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech.
Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Arlington AL
Selecting the ideal interior design college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. You originally came upon this website because you had an initial interest in Interior Design Major. However it is still important 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 right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Arlington AL.
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