How to Find the Right Interior Design School Flomaton Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Flomaton AL, it's time to start 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 skills to work. And since several states do mandate 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 crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Flomaton AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus 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, for example 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 carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Flomaton AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new profession in Flomaton AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select 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 covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four 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 minimum degree 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 options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Flomaton AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of 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 cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Flomaton AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Flomaton AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Flomaton AL college you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College'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 colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Flomaton AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Flomaton AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Flomaton AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Flomaton home, go to the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Flomaton 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, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Flomaton Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Flomaton AL.