How to Enroll in 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 begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Red Bay AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Red Bay AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Red Bay AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives 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 certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects 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 supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Red Bay AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Red Bay AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers 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 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 accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Red Bay AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get 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 school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the Red Bay AL school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education 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? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Red Bay AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Red Bay AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
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 instruction from the teachers. Ask the Red Bay AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Red Bay home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Red Bay AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Ideal Red Bay Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Red Bay AL.