How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Course Slocomb Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Slocomb 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 important that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate 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 do the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? A number of prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Slocomb AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often 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 instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Slocomb AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new career in Slocomb AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually 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 cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree 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 achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve 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 vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Slocomb AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Slocomb AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Slocomb AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Slocomb AL program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Slocomb AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Slocomb AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer 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 little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Slocomb AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Slocomb home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Slocomb AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Right Slocomb Interior Design School
Picking the right interior design college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Slocomb AL.