How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College Semmes Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Semmes AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Many future students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Semmes AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Semmes AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new profession in Semmes AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential 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 improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually 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 several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Semmes AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Semmes AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Semmes AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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 mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Semmes AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Semmes AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Semmes AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide 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 essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Semmes AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Semmes home, go to the school and monitor 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 credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Semmes AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Right Semmes Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior designer school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Semmes AL.