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How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near Chickasaw Alabama

Chickasaw Alabama interior designed living room with viewOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Chickasaw AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? Many potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will cover those issues 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 class choices are offered.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

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Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Chickasaw AL may specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Chickasaw AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career in Chickasaw AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose 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 covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Chickasaw AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional 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 respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Chickasaw AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Chickasaw AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become 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 college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Chickasaw AL program 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 employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Chickasaw AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Chickasaw AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Chickasaw AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Chickasaw home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Chickasaw AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Chickasaw Interior Design Colleges

Choose in the Right Chickasaw Interior Design College

Choosing the right interior designer program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still imperative 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 schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chickasaw Alabama.