How to Select the Right Interior Design Program 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 selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents 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 essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? A number of potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 class options are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key distinction 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 spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Sylvania AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically 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 may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily 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 stressed 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, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Sylvania AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new career in Sylvania AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential 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 attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree 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", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges 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 Design Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Sylvania AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Sylvania AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Sylvania AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Sylvania AL school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Sylvania AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Sylvania AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Sylvania AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Sylvania home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you enroll in provides 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 Sylvania AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Ideal Sylvania Interior Design Program
Selecting the right interior design college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sylvania AL.