How to Pick the Right Interior Design School Sumiton Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Sumiton AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 training alternatives are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the amount of education 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, 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Sumiton AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily 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 emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Sumiton AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new profession in Sumiton AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The 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 require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Sumiton AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Sumiton AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in 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 receiving 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education 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 Sumiton AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Sumiton AL school you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Sumiton AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Sumiton AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Sumiton AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Sumiton home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask 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? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Sumiton AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Right Sumiton Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior design program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sumiton AL.