How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Course Selmont West Selmont Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Selmont West Selmont AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require 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 carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education 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 many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Selmont West Selmont AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of 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 appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Selmont West Selmont AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new career in Selmont West Selmont AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required 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. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Selmont West Selmont AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Selmont West Selmont AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the least expensive school 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, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Selmont West Selmont AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate 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 occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Selmont West Selmont AL program you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement 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 esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Selmont West Selmont AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Selmont West Selmont AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining 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 college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Selmont West Selmont AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Selmont West Selmont home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Selmont West Selmont AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Selmont West Selmont Interior Design Program
Selecting the right interior design program is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Selmont West Selmont AL.