How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program Cherokee Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Cherokee AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Cherokee AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Cherokee AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new profession in Cherokee AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Cherokee AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Cherokee AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Cherokee AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get 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 several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Cherokee AL college you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction 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? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Cherokee AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Cherokee AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately 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 personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Cherokee AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Cherokee home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Cherokee AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Find the Right Cherokee Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cherokee AL.