How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School near Rainsville Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Rainsville AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? Many potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Rainsville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Rainsville AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new profession in Rainsville AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief 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 two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Rainsville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Rainsville AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, 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 schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Rainsville AL school you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Rainsville AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Rainsville AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Rainsville AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Rainsville home, visit the college and attend a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Rainsville AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Rainsville Interior Design Program
Selecting the right interior design school is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Rainsville Alabama.