Interior Designer College
How to Pick the Right One Near Sylacauga Alabama
So it’s time to start the task of selecting an interior design school near Sylacauga AL once you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. It's important that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right school? When looking for interior design programs, many potential students start by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Sylacauga AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often 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 kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must 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, Sylacauga AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new career in Sylacauga AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Sylacauga AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop 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 added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Sylacauga AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Sylacauga AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Sylacauga AL college you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Sylacauga AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Sylacauga AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Sylacauga AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Sylacauga home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Sylacauga AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Sylacauga Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior design school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. It is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance 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 right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sylacauga Alabama.