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 design degree program near Selmont West Selmont AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Selmont West Selmont AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Selmont West Selmont AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new profession in Selmont West Selmont AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure 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 addressed 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 level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Selmont West Selmont AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Selmont West Selmont AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Selmont West Selmont AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Selmont West Selmont AL school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask 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 trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Selmont West Selmont AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Selmont West Selmont AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Selmont West Selmont AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Selmont West Selmont home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Selmont West Selmont AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Selmont West Selmont Interior Design Program
Selecting the right interior designer college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Selmont West Selmont AL.