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How to Find the Right Interior Designer Program Choccolocco Alabama

Choccolocco Alabama luxury interior designed bathroomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college 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 spaces, it's important that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 choices are available.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Choccolocco AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially 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 dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas 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 concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Choccolocco AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.

Interior Design Training Programs

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There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new profession in Choccolocco AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be 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 several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Degree Programs

For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Choccolocco AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded 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 obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Choccolocco AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by 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 assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. 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 requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Choccolocco AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require 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 calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Choccolocco AL college you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. 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 high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Choccolocco AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Choccolocco AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately 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 probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Choccolocco AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher 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 styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Choccolocco AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Learn More About Accredited Choccolocco Interior Design Schools

Choose the Right Choccolocco Interior Design College

Selecting the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions 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 desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Choccolocco AL.