How to Pick the Right Interior Design Course Fayette Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Fayette AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other important 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 options are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. 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 Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Fayette AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Fayette AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new career in Fayette AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth 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 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 provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Fayette AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative 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 commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school 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 obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Fayette AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Fayette AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Fayette AL college you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Fayette AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Fayette AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Fayette AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Fayette home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Fayette AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Ideal Fayette Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fayette AL.