How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Course Semmes Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Semmes AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the appropriate 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 may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will cover those issues and other crucial 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 and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Semmes AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Semmes AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Semmes AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish 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 normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Semmes AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools 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 commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Semmes AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Semmes AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Semmes AL program you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Semmes AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Semmes AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Semmes AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Semmes home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask 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? Last, confirm that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Semmes AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Find the Best Semmes Interior Design Program
Selecting the right interior design college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Semmes AL.