How to Find the Right Interior Design Course Fayetteville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Fayetteville 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 receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Many prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 choices are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key distinction between the two 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 areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Fayetteville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. 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 can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Fayetteville AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new profession in Fayetteville AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several 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 provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally 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 schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Fayetteville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many 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 conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Fayetteville AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Fayetteville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Fayetteville AL program you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Fayetteville AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Fayetteville AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller 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 Fayetteville AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Fayetteville home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fayetteville AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Pick the Best Fayetteville Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fayetteville AL.