How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School Fayetteville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Fayetteville 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 spaces, it's important that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often 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 skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Fayetteville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Fayetteville AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to begin your new career in Fayetteville AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose 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 explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Fayetteville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire 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 structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Fayetteville AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking 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 look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Fayetteville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Fayetteville AL college you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Fayetteville AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Fayetteville AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Fayetteville AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Fayetteville home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Fayetteville AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Fayetteville Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fayetteville AL.