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How to Find the Right Interior Designer College Choccolocco Alabama

Choccolocco Alabama luxury interior designed bathroomNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Choccolocco 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 get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require 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 very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? Many 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 important factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 offered.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Choccolocco AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Choccolocco AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.

Interior Design Training Programs

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There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new profession in Choccolocco AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make 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 a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer 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 their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Colleges

For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Choccolocco AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges 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 commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

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When you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Choccolocco AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Choccolocco AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Choccolocco AL college you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Choccolocco AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Choccolocco AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Choccolocco AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Choccolocco home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Choccolocco AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Learn More About Accredited Choccolocco Interior Design Courses

Choose the Right Choccolocco Interior Design College

Selecting the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Choccolocco AL.