Interior Designer Course
How to Pick the Best One Near Sylacauga Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Sylacauga AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. It's imperative that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final decision. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right school? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. However, a school is not always the best option just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are a number of other qualifications that you should evaluate when comparing schools, such as accreditation and reputation. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking 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 choices are available.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Sylacauga AL may 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, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Sylacauga AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new career in Sylacauga AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Sylacauga AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed 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 programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving 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 program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Sylacauga AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. 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 demanding evaluation 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Sylacauga AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Sylacauga AL school you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Sylacauga AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Sylacauga AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Sylacauga AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Sylacauga home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Sylacauga AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find Out More About How to Become an Interior Designer in Sylacauga
Enroll in the Right Sylacauga Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sylacauga Alabama.
Sylacauga Interior Design Colleges | Sylacauga Interior Design Classes