How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design College Crossville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Crossville AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial 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 available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Crossville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. 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 bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Crossville AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new profession in Crossville AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have 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 mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For students who to study in the convenience of their Crossville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline 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.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Crossville AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college 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 excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Crossville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate 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 some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Crossville AL program you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Crossville AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Crossville AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Crossville AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Crossville home, go to the college and attend 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Crossville AL, make sure 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, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Crossville Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Crossville AL.