Interior Designer Degree
How to Find the Right One Near Selma Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of choosing an interior design school near Selma AL once you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. It's important that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a knack for designing commercial or residential interiors. And because interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the school you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each college you are looking at before you make your final choice it's vital that you carry out the appropriate due diligence. But just how do you go about finding the right school? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. However, a school is not always the best choice simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are many other qualifications that you should weigh when comparing schools, for example accreditation and reputation. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 options are offered.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Selma AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Selma AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Selma AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly 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 technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Selma AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges 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. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Selma AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Selma AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Selma AL college you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Selma AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Selma AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Selma AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Selma home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Selma AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Learn More About Becoming an Interior Designer in Selma
Choose the Best Selma Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. It is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Selma Alabama.
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