How to Choose the Right Interior Design School Redland Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Redland AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you start? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial 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 training choices are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working 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 educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Redland AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Redland AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in Redland AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote 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 take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Redland AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Redland AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Redland AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Redland AL school you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Redland AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Redland AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Redland AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Redland home, visit the school and attend a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Redland AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Redland Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer program is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Redland AL.