How to Find the Right Interior Designer Program Sardis City Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Sardis City AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Sardis City AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Sardis City AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new career in Sardis City AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two 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 furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Sardis City AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good option 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 many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Sardis City AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Sardis City AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an excellent education, the Sardis City AL program you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Sardis City AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Sardis City AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Sardis City AL schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Sardis City home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Sardis City AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Right Sardis City Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. 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 appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sardis City AL.