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How to Select the Best Interior Designer Degree Program near Rainsville Alabama

Rainsville Alabama interior designed living room with entertainment centerNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Rainsville AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of 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 essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools 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. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 offered.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference 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. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Rainsville AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Rainsville AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.

Interior Design Training Programs

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Rainsville AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design 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. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Rainsville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Rainsville AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. 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 a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Rainsville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Rainsville AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Rainsville AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Rainsville AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Rainsville AL programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Rainsville home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Rainsville AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Schools

Enroll in the Best Rainsville Interior Design College

Selecting the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided 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 superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Rainsville Alabama.