Interior Designer Program
How to Find the Best One Near Selma Alabama
So it’s time to begin the process of choosing an interior design school near Selma AL once you have made a career choice to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since interior designers must be licensed in several states, the college you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each school you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision it's crucial that you do the proper due diligence. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right school? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right option simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are various other factors that you should weigh when comparing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 choices are available.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires 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 work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad 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 area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Selma AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Selma AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter 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 a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely 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 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For students who to study in the comfort of their Selma AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added 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 highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Selma AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Selma AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Selma AL school you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Selma AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Selma AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Selma AL programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Selma home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Selma AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Selma Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented 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 quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Selma Alabama.