How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program Slocomb Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Slocomb AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Some potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other vital 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 training alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction 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. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education 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 residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Slocomb AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate 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 might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including 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 including Feng shui principles, Slocomb AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new profession in Slocomb AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things 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. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ 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 mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For students who to study in the convenience of their Slocomb AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make 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 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 acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Slocomb AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Slocomb AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Slocomb AL college you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination 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? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges 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 indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Slocomb AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Slocomb AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Slocomb AL colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Slocomb home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Slocomb 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, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Best Slocomb Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Slocomb AL.