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How to Find the Best Interior Designer Program near Rainbow City Alabama

Rainbow City Alabama interior designed living room with viewNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Rainbow City AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Rainbow City AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically 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 bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Rainbow City AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.

Interior Design Degrees

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There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new profession in Rainbow City AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed 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 short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required 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 two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to study in the convenience of their Rainbow City AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting 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 as well. Just be sure that the school 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools

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When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Rainbow City AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Rainbow City AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Rainbow City AL program you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Rainbow City AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Rainbow City AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Rainbow City AL schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Rainbow City home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program 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 attend classes at night or on weekends near Rainbow City AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Learn More About Rainbow City Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Right Rainbow City Interior Design Program

Selecting the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several things to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Rainbow City Alabama.