How to Choose the Right Interior Designer College Crossville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Crossville AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some potential students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will address those issues and other crucial 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 class choices are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working 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 attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Crossville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Crossville AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Crossville AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily 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 as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Crossville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Crossville AL home. Naturally 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 fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Crossville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Crossville AL program you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction 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 School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing 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 highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Crossville AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Crossville AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Crossville AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Crossville home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Crossville AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Pick the Right Crossville Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior designer school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Crossville AL.