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How to Select the Best Interior Designer Program near Satsuma Alabama

Satsuma Alabama interior designed living room with entertainment centerNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Satsuma AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate 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 could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But where do you begin? Many future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 vs Interior Design

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Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Satsuma AL may 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, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Satsuma AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.

Interior Designer Degree Options

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There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Satsuma AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential 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 design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want 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 as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Satsuma AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you enroll in 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 dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

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Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Satsuma AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school 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, many Satsuma AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require 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 calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Satsuma AL program you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Satsuma AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Satsuma AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? 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 Satsuma AL schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Satsuma home, go to the campus and attend 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 approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Satsuma AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Satsuma Interior Design Degrees

Choose in the Right Satsuma Interior Design College

Picking the ideal interior design school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented 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 drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Satsuma Alabama.