How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design College Slocomb Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Slocomb AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will discuss 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 class alternatives are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates 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 living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Slocomb AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Slocomb AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Slocomb AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed 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 level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade needed 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 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral 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 generally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional 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 called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Slocomb AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded 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 distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Slocomb AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, 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 obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers 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 training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Slocomb AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Slocomb AL college you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Slocomb AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Slocomb AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? 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 programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Slocomb home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to 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 attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Ideal Slocomb Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many points 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 respected in the profession. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Slocomb AL.