How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Course near Rainbow City Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Rainbow City AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But where do you begin? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Rainbow City AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms 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 many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Rainbow City AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new career in Rainbow City AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally 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 field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Rainbow City AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting 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 decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain 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 learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Rainbow City AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining 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 programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Rainbow City AL college you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Rainbow City AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Rainbow City AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Rainbow City AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Rainbow City home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Rainbow City AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Right Rainbow City Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Rainbow City Alabama.