How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Course Smoke Rise Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Smoke Rise AL, it's time to begin 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 get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Many potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Smoke Rise AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Smoke Rise AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Smoke Rise AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components 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 two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Smoke Rise AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Smoke Rise AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below 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 to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Smoke Rise AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready 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) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Smoke Rise AL program you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask 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 sought after. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Smoke Rise AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Smoke Rise AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Smoke Rise AL colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Smoke Rise home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Smoke Rise AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Ideal Smoke Rise Interior Design Program
Selecting the right interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided 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 drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Smoke Rise AL.