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How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design School near Satsuma Alabama

Satsuma Alabama interior designed living roomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Satsuma AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home 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 must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 available.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, 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 taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Satsuma AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often 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 specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must 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 selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Satsuma AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.

Interior Designer Training Programs

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new career in Satsuma AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at a number of 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 in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Satsuma AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn 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 program may be the right option for you.

Subjects 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 analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Satsuma AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through 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 excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Satsuma AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School 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) exam as well as 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 Satsuma AL program you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high 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 might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Satsuma AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Satsuma AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Satsuma AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Satsuma home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. 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, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Degrees

Choose in the Right Satsuma Interior Design School

Picking the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Satsuma Alabama.