How to Choose the Right Interior Design Course Sardis City Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program 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 important that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Sardis City AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. 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 working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. 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 employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new career in Sardis City AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options 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. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 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 some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Sardis City AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great alternative 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 laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Sardis City AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Sardis City AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Sardis City AL school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing 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 probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, 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 regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Sardis City AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Sardis City AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Sardis City AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Sardis City home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night 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, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Sardis City Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior design school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded 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 provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sardis City AL.