How to Choose the Right Interior Designer School Selmont West Selmont Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Selmont West Selmont AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Selmont West Selmont AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often 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 can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Selmont West Selmont AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new profession in Selmont West Selmont AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business 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 two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly 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 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use 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 an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Selmont West Selmont AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs 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 conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Selmont West Selmont AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting 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 employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Selmont West Selmont AL college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training 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? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Selmont West Selmont AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Selmont West Selmont AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Selmont West Selmont AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Selmont West Selmont home, visit 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 philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Selmont West Selmont AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Selmont West Selmont Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior design program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Selmont West Selmont AL.