How to Select the Right Interior Designer Course Smoke Rise Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Smoke Rise AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Smoke Rise AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Smoke Rise AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new profession in Smoke Rise AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several 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. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Smoke Rise AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Smoke Rise AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. 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 ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and college 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Smoke Rise AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several 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 mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Smoke Rise AL program you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help 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 sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Smoke Rise AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Smoke Rise AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Smoke Rise AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Smoke Rise home, visit the school and monitor 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 styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Smoke Rise AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Select the Best Smoke Rise Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded 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 suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Smoke Rise AL.