How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Course Choccolocco Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Choccolocco AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Choccolocco AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally 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 focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Choccolocco AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new profession in Choccolocco AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose 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 accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly 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 professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Choccolocco AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Choccolocco AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by 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 undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program 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 excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Choccolocco AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Choccolocco AL program you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Choccolocco AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Choccolocco AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Choccolocco AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Choccolocco home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Choccolocco AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Ideal Choccolocco Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior design school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess 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 reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Choccolocco AL.