How to Choose the Right Interior Design Course Fort Rucker Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Fort Rucker AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will address 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires 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 living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Fort Rucker AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to 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 utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Fort Rucker AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For students who to study in the comfort of their Fort Rucker AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Fort Rucker AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. 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 assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Fort Rucker AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Fort Rucker AL college you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, 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 esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Fort Rucker AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Fort Rucker AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Fort Rucker AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Fort Rucker home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Fort Rucker AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Fort Rucker Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fort Rucker AL.