How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design College 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 start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Fort Rucker AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Fort Rucker AL interior designers implement 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 receive the training needed to begin your new profession in Fort Rucker AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives 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. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ 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 schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Fort Rucker AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire 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 environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Fort Rucker AL home. Of course if you have decided on 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 also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Fort Rucker AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Fort Rucker AL program you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Fort Rucker AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Fort Rucker AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Fort Rucker AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Fort Rucker home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to 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 alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Fort Rucker Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior design program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review 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 achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fort Rucker AL.