How to Find the Right Interior Design College Flomaton Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Flomaton AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? A number of potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses 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 sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Flomaton AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Flomaton AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career in Flomaton AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide 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) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business needed 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 provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Flomaton AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed 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 many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Flomaton 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 selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional 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 an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Flomaton AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Flomaton AL school you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high 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 could also indicate that the college has a large network of Flomaton AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Flomaton AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Flomaton AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Flomaton home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Flomaton AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Find the Right Flomaton Interior Design School
Picking the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Flomaton AL.