How to Find the Right Interior Design Course Flomaton Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Flomaton 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 proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But just where do you start? Some potential students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking 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 training alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general 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 essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate 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 emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Flomaton AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in Flomaton AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several 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. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Flomaton AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Flomaton AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Flomaton AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Flomaton AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy 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 designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Flomaton AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Flomaton AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Flomaton AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Flomaton home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Flomaton AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Flomaton Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop 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 attain a higher education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Flomaton AL.