How to Choose an Interior Design Degree Program Seminole 36574
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Seminole AL, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s important that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Many prospective students will launch their research by looking for colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 alternatives are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business in Seminole AL as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction in Alabama. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a Seminole designer needs to learn, including lighting, color shemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new career. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in Seminole as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment in Seminole 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 required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position in Alabama as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Seminole homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you choose is accredited by a respected 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 distance or online 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 alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Seminole residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s necessary to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Seminole employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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 program. And in some of those states calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job in Seminole. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer in 36574. Many of Alabama interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Seminole home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Seminole, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Ideal Interior Design Program Seminole ALPicking the right interior designer program is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to recieve an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer.