How to Select the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Samson Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Samson AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will cover those topics 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 choices are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting 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 spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Samson AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Samson AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training required to start your new career in Samson AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Samson AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Samson AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Samson AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Samson AL college you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Samson AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Samson AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Samson AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Samson home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Samson AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Ideal Samson Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior design program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However 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 properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Samson AL.