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How to Find the Right Interior Designer College Choccolocco Alabama

Choccolocco Alabama luxury interior designed spacious bathroomNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Choccolocco AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Choccolocco AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to 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 principles, Choccolocco AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Choccolocco AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually 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 deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job 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 choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Schools

For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Choccolocco AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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Now that you have selected 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 factor, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Choccolocco AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Choccolocco AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Choccolocco AL college you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at 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 held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Choccolocco AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Choccolocco AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Choccolocco AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Choccolocco home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Choccolocco AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Online Choccolocco Interior Design Programs

Select the Ideal Choccolocco Interior Design Program

Picking the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Choccolocco AL.