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How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Course near Selma Alabama

Selma Alabama interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Selma 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 essential that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Selma AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

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

Interior Designer Degree Options

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There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Selma AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure 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 some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to study in the convenience of their Selma AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

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When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Selma AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design college and program that you enroll in 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Selma AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Selma AL school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Selma AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Selma AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Selma AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Selma home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Selma AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Schools

Choose in the Best Selma Interior Design College

Choosing the ideal interior designer program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Selma Alabama.