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How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program near Roanoke Alabama

Roanoke Alabama interior designed living room with viewOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Roanoke AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account 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 talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Roanoke AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers 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 integrating Feng shui concepts, Roanoke AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new profession in Roanoke AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to study in the comfort of their Roanoke AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

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Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Roanoke AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in 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 an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Roanoke AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. 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 Roanoke AL school you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Roanoke AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Roanoke AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important 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 aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Roanoke AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Roanoke home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Roanoke AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Roanoke Interior Design Schools

Enroll in the Right Roanoke Interior Design Program

Picking the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before choosing 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. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Roanoke Alabama.