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How to Select the Right Interior Design School near Chickasaw Alabama

Chickasaw Alabama interior designed living roomNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Chickasaw AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the only 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 interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. 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 trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Chickasaw AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate 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 might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Chickasaw AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.

Interior Design Training Programs

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There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Chickasaw AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally 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, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Chickasaw AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Chickasaw AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Chickasaw AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Chickasaw AL school you select should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Chickasaw AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Chickasaw AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Chickasaw AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Chickasaw home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Chickasaw AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Chickasaw Interior Design Schools

Enroll in the Best Chickasaw Interior Design School

Selecting the right interior designer college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate 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 achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chickasaw Alabama.