How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design School Jemison Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Jemison AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of 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 perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But where do you start? A number of potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Jemison AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Jemison AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career in Jemison AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things 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 programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Jemison AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Jemison AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. 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 training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Jemison AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Jemison AL college you choose should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Jemison AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Jemison AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Jemison AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Jemison home, go to the college and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Jemison AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Jemison Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Jemison AL.