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How to Select the Best Interior Design School near Satsuma Alabama

Satsuma Alabama interior designed living roomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Satsuma AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking 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 choices are available.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Satsuma AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Satsuma AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Satsuma AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide 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 minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Satsuma AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Satsuma AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Satsuma AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Satsuma AL college you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer 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 assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of Satsuma AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Satsuma AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Satsuma AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Satsuma home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Satsuma AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Courses

Choose in the Right Satsuma Interior Design Program

Choosing the right interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Satsuma Alabama.