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How to Choose the Right Interior Design College Fort Rucker Alabama

Fort Rucker Alabama elegant interior designed custom bathroomNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Fort Rucker AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you start? Some prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking 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 training alternatives are available.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Fort Rucker AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. 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 kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Fort Rucker AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new career in Fort Rucker AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select 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 covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Classes

For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Fort Rucker AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Fort Rucker AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Fort Rucker AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Fort Rucker AL program you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Fort Rucker AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Fort Rucker AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Fort Rucker AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Fort Rucker home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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, verify that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Fort Rucker AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Learn More About Online Fort Rucker Interior Design Colleges

Select the Right Fort Rucker Interior Design School

Selecting the ideal interior designer college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fort Rucker AL.