How to Select the Right Interior Designer Course Ragland Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Ragland AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But just where do you start? A number of potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other important 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 choices are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Ragland AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often 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 particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often 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 may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Ragland AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Ragland AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations 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 field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student 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 achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university 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 schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Ragland AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Ragland AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field 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 instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Ragland AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Ragland AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Ragland AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Ragland AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Ragland AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Ragland home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Ragland AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Ideal Ragland Interior Design Program
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive 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 endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ragland AL.