How to Select the Right Interior Design Degree Program Rehobeth Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Rehobeth AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Many prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Rehobeth AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Rehobeth AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career in Rehobeth AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many 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 components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Rehobeth AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Rehobeth AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Rehobeth AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Rehobeth AL school you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out 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 students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Rehobeth AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Rehobeth AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school 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 provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Rehobeth AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Rehobeth home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Rehobeth AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Rehobeth Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Rehobeth AL.