How to Select the Right Interior Design Program Red Bay Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Red Bay AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? Some prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Red Bay AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Red Bay AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Red Bay AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted 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 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 accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For students who to study in the convenience of their Red Bay AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended 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 schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized 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 discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Red Bay AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding 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 agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Red Bay AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Red Bay AL program you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Red Bay AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Red Bay AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Red Bay AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Red Bay home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Red Bay AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Best Red Bay Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior design college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Red Bay AL.