How to Select an Interior Designer College Rainbow City 35906
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Rainbow City AL, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s very important that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by searching for schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business in Rainbow City AL as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes in Alabama. They can design essentially any area of a house, 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 areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a Rainbow City designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new career. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in Rainbow City as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs in Rainbow City as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job in Alabama as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Rainbow City homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to 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 only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Rainbow City residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Rainbow City employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some states do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those states calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the program you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position in Rainbow City. Ask the schools that you are reviewing 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 college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they provide in 35906. A number of Alabama interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges 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 important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Rainbow City home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Rainbow City, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Ideal Interior Designer College Rainbow City ALChoosing the ideal interior designer program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer.