How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program Crossville Alabama
Once you have made a decision 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 important that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education 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 work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad 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 room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a 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 picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Crossville AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in Crossville AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Crossville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. 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.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Crossville AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national 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 undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program 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 education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Crossville 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) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Crossville AL college you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Crossville AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Crossville AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? 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 colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Crossville home, go to the college 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 approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Crossville AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Find the Best Crossville Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented 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 desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Crossville AL.