How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Program Samson Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Samson 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 interiors, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will address 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 offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Samson AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Samson AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new profession in Samson AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such 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 want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Samson AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn 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 setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Samson AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. 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 undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Samson AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Samson AL college you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Samson AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Samson AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Samson AL schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Samson home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Samson AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Samson Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Samson AL.