How to Choose the Right Interior Design School Sulligent Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Sulligent AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? A number of potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will address those topics and other crucial 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 class options are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Sulligent AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus 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 focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Sulligent AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new profession in Sulligent AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish 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 minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Sulligent AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent 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 a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain 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 colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Sulligent 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 expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. 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 evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Sulligent AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Sulligent AL school you choose should also furnish the proper education 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? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance 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 high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Sulligent AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Sulligent AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Sulligent AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Sulligent home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Sulligent AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Sulligent Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sulligent AL.