How to Find the Right Interior Designer College Fayetteville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Fayetteville AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right 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 could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. 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 areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Fayetteville 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, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example 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 choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Fayetteville AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Fayetteville AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some 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. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student 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 the 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 enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Fayetteville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. 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 programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Fayetteville AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Fayetteville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate 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 requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Fayetteville AL school you select should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need 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 highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Fayetteville AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Fayetteville AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Fayetteville AL colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Fayetteville home, visit the college and attend 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 styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Fayetteville AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Fayetteville Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior design program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fayetteville AL.