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How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Saks Alabama

Saks Alabama interior designed living roomNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Saks AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? Some prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will address those topics 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 training options are available.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the level 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. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Saks AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Saks AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.

Interior Designer Training Programs

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to begin your new career in Saks AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Saks AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the only alternative 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 costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded 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 distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

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Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Saks AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Saks AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Saks AL school you choose should also provide the suitable training 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 attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Saks AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Saks AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Saks AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Saks home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Saks AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Degrees

Choose in the Right Saks Interior Design College

Choosing the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Saks Alabama.