How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Course near Fort Payne Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Fort Payne AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. 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 vital that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? Many future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the level of training 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, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Fort Payne AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Fort Payne AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new profession in Fort Payne AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things 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 mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to study in the comfort of their Fort Payne AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only 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. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized 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 learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Fort Payne AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and college 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Fort Payne AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Fort Payne AL school you select should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Fort Payne AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Fort Payne AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Fort Payne AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Fort Payne home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Fort Payne AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Right Fort Payne Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fort Payne Alabama.