How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program Sulligent Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Sulligent AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? Many potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Sulligent AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Sulligent AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new profession in Sulligent AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide 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 several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits 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 required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions 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 technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring 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 improve 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 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Schools
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Sulligent AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. 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 schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized 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 learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Sulligent AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Sulligent AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
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) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Sulligent AL school you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at 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 esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Sulligent AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Sulligent AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Sulligent AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Sulligent home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out 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 certain that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Sulligent AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Sulligent Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior design college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sulligent AL.