How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Course Red Bay Alabama
Now that 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 right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But where do you start? Some potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask 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 class alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Red Bay AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Red Bay AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new profession in Red Bay AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate 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 take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Red Bay AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online 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 ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Red Bay AL residence. Of course 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 cost of tuition will limit your options also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. 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 school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Red Bay AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Red Bay AL college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Red Bay AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Red Bay AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Red Bay AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Red Bay home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Red Bay AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Red Bay Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many 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 field. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Red Bay AL.