How to Choose the Right Interior Designer College near Sylacauga Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Sylacauga 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 interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? A number of future students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial 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 training options are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Sylacauga AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Sylacauga AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new profession in Sylacauga AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Sylacauga AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Sylacauga AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Sylacauga AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Sylacauga AL program you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Sylacauga AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Sylacauga AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Sylacauga AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Sylacauga home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Sylacauga AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Sylacauga Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior design college is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sylacauga Alabama.