How to Select the Right Interior Design Program Summerdale Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Summerdale AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? Some prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Summerdale AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Summerdale AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new career in Summerdale AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For students who to study in the comfort of their Summerdale AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended 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 commuting 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 reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Summerdale AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by 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 undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program 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 education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Summerdale AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Summerdale AL college you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Summerdale AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Summerdale AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance 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 school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Summerdale AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Summerdale home, visit the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Summerdale AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Summerdale Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Summerdale AL.