How to Find the Right Interior Designer School Semmes Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Semmes 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 some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But just where do you begin? Many future students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference 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 areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Semmes AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to 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 principles, Semmes AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new career in Semmes AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as 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 choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated 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. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Semmes AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional 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 highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Semmes AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Semmes AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Semmes AL program you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Semmes AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Semmes AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Semmes AL colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Semmes home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few 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 design program you select provides 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 Semmes AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Semmes Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior design college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Semmes AL.