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How to Select the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Fort Rucker Alabama

Fort Rucker Alabama beautiful interior designed spacious bathroomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Fort Rucker AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

modern Fort Rucker Alabama interior designed corporate conference room

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Fort Rucker AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Fort Rucker AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new career in Fort Rucker AL. Your choice 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 required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving 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 improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Schools

For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Fort Rucker AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

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Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Fort Rucker AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Fort Rucker AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become 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 several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Fort Rucker AL program you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Fort Rucker AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Fort Rucker AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Fort Rucker AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Fort Rucker home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Fort Rucker AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Learn More About Online Fort Rucker Interior Design Courses

Enroll in the Right Fort Rucker Interior Design Program

Choosing the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. 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 schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fort Rucker AL.