How to Find the Right Interior Design School Flomaton Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Flomaton AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, 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 taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Flomaton AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Flomaton AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Flomaton AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of 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 needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive 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 credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order 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 field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Flomaton AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges 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 confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Flomaton AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting 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 colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Flomaton AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, 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 profession and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Flomaton AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Flomaton AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Flomaton AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Flomaton home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Flomaton AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Best Flomaton Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior designer program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the 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 superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Flomaton AL.