How to Find the Right Interior Design College Samson Alabama
Once you have made a decision 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 residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final choice. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Samson AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Samson AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career in Samson AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated 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. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential 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 offer options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five 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 several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Samson AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Samson AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by 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 a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Samson AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get 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 school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Samson AL school you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Samson AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Samson AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Samson AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Samson home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Samson AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Samson Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Samson AL.