How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Course Redstone Arsenal Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Redstone Arsenal AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? Some prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction 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 skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Redstone Arsenal AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Redstone Arsenal AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new profession in Redstone Arsenal AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Redstone Arsenal AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended 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 programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Redstone Arsenal AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer school 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 gone through a rigorous 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Redstone Arsenal AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Redstone Arsenal AL college you select should also provide the proper 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 College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned 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 yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Redstone Arsenal AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Redstone Arsenal AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges 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 stressed again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Redstone Arsenal AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Redstone Arsenal home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Redstone Arsenal AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Redstone Arsenal Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic 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 daunting job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Redstone Arsenal AL.