How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design School Selmont West Selmont Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Selmont West Selmont AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the right training to put your natural abilities 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 examination also. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Selmont West Selmont AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have 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 variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to start your new career in Selmont West Selmont AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options 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. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Selmont West Selmont AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Selmont West Selmont AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional 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 gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Selmont West Selmont AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Selmont West Selmont AL program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Selmont West Selmont AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Selmont West Selmont AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Selmont West Selmont AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Selmont West Selmont home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Selmont West Selmont AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Find the Best Selmont West Selmont Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Selmont West Selmont AL.