How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program Ragland Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Ragland AL, it's time to start 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 receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Ragland AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often 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 specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Ragland AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Ragland AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required 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 normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Ragland AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Ragland AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. 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 assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program 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 Ragland AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require 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 mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Ragland AL college you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication 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 school has a large network of Ragland AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Ragland AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Ragland AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Ragland home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Ragland AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Right Ragland Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior designer school is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ragland AL.