How to Find the Right Interior Design College Sumiton Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Sumiton 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 spaces, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Many prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover 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 training choices are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working 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 taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Sumiton AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Sumiton AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new profession in Sumiton AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed 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 accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential 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 training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Sumiton AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent alternative 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 home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Sumiton AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Sumiton AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Sumiton AL college you choose should also provide the appropriate 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 received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help 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 an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Sumiton AL business connections where they can refer students to secure 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 reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Sumiton AL schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Sumiton home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Sumiton AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Find the Best Sumiton Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sumiton AL.