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How to Find the Right Interior Design Course near Rainsville Alabama

Rainsville Alabama interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Rainsville AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Many potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the amount 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, 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 and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Rainsville AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Rainsville AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new career in Rainsville AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Rainsville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Rainsville AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Rainsville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Rainsville AL college you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. 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 indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Rainsville AL business connections 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 Rainsville AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Rainsville AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Rainsville home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic 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 Rainsville AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Degrees

Enroll in the Best Rainsville Interior Design Program

Choosing the ideal interior design program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Rainsville Alabama.