How to Pick the Right Interior Design School Reform Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Reform AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on 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 so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But just where do you begin? Some potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. 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 options are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of 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 attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Reform AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Reform AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Reform AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Reform AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent 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 a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college 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 acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Reform AL residence. Obviously 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 narrow down your options also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Reform AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Reform AL school you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Reform AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Reform AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative 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 Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Reform AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Reform home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Reform AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Ideal Reform Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Reform AL.