How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program Crossville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer 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 commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents 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 exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But where do you start? Many prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will discuss 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 choices are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key 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 talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Crossville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Crossville AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Crossville AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Crossville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. 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 option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Crossville AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Crossville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Crossville AL school you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Crossville AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Crossville AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Crossville AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Crossville home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Crossville AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Crossville Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior designer program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular 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 points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Crossville AL.