How to Select an Interior Design Program near Chelsea Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Chelsea AL, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s important that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator in Chelsea AL if they have 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 Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Chelsea AL often 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, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, Chelsea AL designers often 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 focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design in Chelsea AL that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new profession. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered near Chelsea AL.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Chelsea AL area trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending 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 programs may be the sole alternative if no Chelsea AL area interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your Chelsea AL area college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It’s imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Chelsea AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those states calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Chelsea AL program you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of Chelsea AL area business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of support they provide. A number of Chelsea AL area interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Chelsea AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the Chelsea AL interior design school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Interior Designer Certification Training near Chelsea AlabamaSelecting the ideal interior designer program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to recieve an advanced education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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