How to Select the Right Interior Designer College Sulligent Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Sulligent AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital 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 choices are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training 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 residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Sulligent AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Sulligent AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new career in Sulligent AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive 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 college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees 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 three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For students who to study 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 busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only 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 expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire 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 program may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Sulligent AL residence. 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 fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Sulligent AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the Sulligent AL program you choose should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Sulligent AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Sulligent AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Sulligent AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Sulligent home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Sulligent AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Right Sulligent Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior designer college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before selecting 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 imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sulligent AL.