How to Find the Right Interior Design College Selmont West Selmont Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Selmont West Selmont AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you start? Some future students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone 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 necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Selmont West Selmont AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Selmont West Selmont AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Selmont West Selmont AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose 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. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain 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 deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve 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 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 several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Selmont West Selmont AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. 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 sole alternative if no interior design programs 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 study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools 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 school may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Selmont West Selmont AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick 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 select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. 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 gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. 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 college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Selmont West Selmont AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School 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 school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Selmont West Selmont AL school you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Selmont West Selmont AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Selmont West Selmont AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Selmont West Selmont AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Selmont West Selmont home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active 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 Selmont West Selmont AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Ideal Selmont West Selmont Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior design program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Selmont West Selmont AL.