How to Pick the Right Interior Designer School near Rainsville Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Rainsville AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Rainsville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally 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 banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Rainsville AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new profession in Rainsville AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select 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 accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required 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 provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives 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 their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Rainsville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole alternative 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 costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Rainsville AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Rainsville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Rainsville AL college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher 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 sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Rainsville AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Rainsville AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Rainsville AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Rainsville home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you select offers 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 in the evening or on weekends near Rainsville AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Best Rainsville Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. 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 balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Rainsville Alabama.