How to Find the Right Interior Designer Course Semmes Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Semmes AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Many prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Semmes AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often 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, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality 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 concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Semmes AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new profession in Semmes AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt 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 a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Semmes AL homes, there are accredited online 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 challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Semmes AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Semmes AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Semmes AL school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Semmes AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Semmes AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important 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 Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction 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, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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, make sure that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend 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 alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Ideal Semmes Interior Design Program
Selecting the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Semmes AL.