How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School Fayette Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Fayette AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But just where do you begin? Some prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. 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 before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Fayette AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Fayette AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new profession in Fayette AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate 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 specialized 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 largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Fayette AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school 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 discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Fayette AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Fayette 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 mandate that interior designers get 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Fayette AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Fayette AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Fayette AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Fayette AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Fayette home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Fayette AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Fayette Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fayette AL.