How to Find the Right Interior Designer College Slocomb Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Slocomb AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Many prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of 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 areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Slocomb AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Slocomb AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Slocomb AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Classes
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Slocomb AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Slocomb AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Slocomb AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Slocomb AL program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Slocomb AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Slocomb AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Slocomb AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Slocomb home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Slocomb AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Right Slocomb Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Slocomb AL.