How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Degree Program Sardis City Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Sardis City AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of 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 crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working 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 trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Sardis City AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Sardis City AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new career in Sardis City AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such 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 primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Sardis City AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole 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 costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Sardis City AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding 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 outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Sardis City AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get 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 mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Sardis City AL college you choose should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. 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 highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Sardis City AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Sardis City AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Sardis City AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Sardis City home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Sardis City AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Sardis City Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sardis City AL.