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How to Select the Right Interior Design Degree Program Sylvania Alabama

Sylvania Alabama elegant interior designed custom bathroomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Sylvania AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several 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 vital that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have 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 Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Sylvania AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of 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 looks as the main concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Sylvania AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new profession in Sylvania AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade 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 furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Designer Classes

For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Sylvania AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. 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 attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a respected 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 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

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Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Sylvania AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized 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 securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Sylvania AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Sylvania AL school you select should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Sylvania AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Sylvania AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Sylvania AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Sylvania home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Sylvania AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check 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.

Find Out More About Top Sylvania Interior Design Colleges

Choose the Best Sylvania Interior Design College

Selecting the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sylvania AL.