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How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Course near Russellville Alabama

Russellville Alabama interior designed living room with viewOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Russellville 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 interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person 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, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Russellville AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to 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 looks as the primary consideration.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as 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 selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Russellville AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.

Interior Design Training Programs

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There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Russellville AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated 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. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for 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 technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential 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 offer 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 the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Russellville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs

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Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Russellville AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select 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 a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Russellville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an excellent education, the Russellville AL college you enroll in should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Russellville AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Russellville AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Russellville AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Russellville home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

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

Learn More About Russellville Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Best Russellville Interior Design College

Selecting the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Russellville Alabama.