How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Course Choccolocco Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Choccolocco AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? Many prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 alternatives are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Choccolocco AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Choccolocco AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Choccolocco AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide 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) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive 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 job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty 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. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Choccolocco AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good solution 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 convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Choccolocco AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for 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 schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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 requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Choccolocco AL school you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Choccolocco AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Choccolocco AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Choccolocco AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Choccolocco home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Choccolocco AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Choccolocco Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Choccolocco AL.