How to Pick the Right Interior Designer School Cherokee Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Cherokee AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction 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 requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Cherokee AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally 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 hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Cherokee AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new career in Cherokee AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Cherokee AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Cherokee AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Cherokee AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Cherokee AL college you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Cherokee AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Cherokee AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Cherokee AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Cherokee home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Cherokee AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Right Cherokee Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior design program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cherokee AL.