How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Rainbow City Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Rainbow City AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require 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 crucial that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But just where do you begin? Some potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking 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 class options are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Rainbow City AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Rainbow City AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new profession in Rainbow City AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select 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 covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous 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 supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade 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 provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer 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. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Rainbow City AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. 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 programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Rainbow City AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you select 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Rainbow City AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Rainbow City AL school you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with 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 design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Rainbow City AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Rainbow City AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Rainbow City AL schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Rainbow City home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night 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 as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose in the Best Rainbow City Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Rainbow City Alabama.