How to Pick the Right Interior Designer School Fort Rucker Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Fort Rucker 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 spaces, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? Some future students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. 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 before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training 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 work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Fort Rucker AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They 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 integrating Feng shui principles, Fort Rucker AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in Fort Rucker AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs 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 aspects of the business needed 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 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of 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 university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Fort Rucker AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Fort Rucker AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose 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 gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Fort Rucker AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Fort Rucker AL program you enroll in should also provide the proper training 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Fort Rucker AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Fort Rucker AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller 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. Find out from the Fort Rucker AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Fort Rucker home, visit the school and attend 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 styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Fort Rucker AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Fort Rucker Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fort Rucker AL.