How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Program Carlisle Rockledge Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Carlisle Rockledge AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the proper 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 may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Carlisle Rockledge AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly 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 emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Carlisle Rockledge AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new profession in Carlisle Rockledge AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced 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 sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use 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 called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Classes
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Carlisle Rockledge AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy 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 some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting 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 minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Carlisle Rockledge AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Carlisle Rockledge AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Carlisle Rockledge AL program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Carlisle Rockledge AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Carlisle Rockledge AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? 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 Carlisle Rockledge AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Carlisle Rockledge home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Carlisle Rockledge AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Select the Right Carlisle Rockledge Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior design program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Carlisle Rockledge AL.