How to Find the Right Interior Designer College Sylvania Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer 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 interiors, it's essential that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will address 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Sylvania AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Sylvania AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new career in Sylvania AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at many 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 deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Sylvania AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Sylvania AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. 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 a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Sylvania AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Sylvania AL college you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a sizable 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 aid departments for the Sylvania AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Sylvania AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Sylvania home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Sylvania AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Pick the Best Sylvania Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges 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 Sylvania AL.