How to Find the Right Interior Designer Program Smoke Rise Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Smoke Rise AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills 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 perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you start? Many potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Smoke Rise AL can 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, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Smoke Rise AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new profession in Smoke Rise AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to 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 pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated 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 accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives 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 their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly 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 mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Smoke Rise AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you select 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Smoke Rise AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Smoke Rise AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Smoke Rise AL college you enroll in should also provide the proper 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might 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 Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Smoke Rise AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Smoke Rise AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Smoke Rise home, go to the college and attend a few 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Smoke Rise AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Smoke Rise Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided 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 superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Smoke Rise AL.