How to Select an Interior Design Course near Selma Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Selma AL, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s essential that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s crucial that you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator in Selma AL if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business 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 trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Selma AL often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, Selma AL designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design in Selma AL that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new career. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered near Selma AL.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Selma AL area community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For anyone wishing’ to attend classes in the convenience of their homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no Selma AL area interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your Selma AL area school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s essential to make sure that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance 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 programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those states requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Selma AL program you select should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be employed.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Selma AL area business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of Selma AL area interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Selma AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the Selma AL interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near Selma AlabamaPicking the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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