How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College Rock Creek Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Rock Creek AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? Many prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues 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 training options are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting 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 trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Rock Creek AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Rock Creek AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new career in Rock Creek AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money 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 mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions 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 facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. 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 university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five 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 professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Rock Creek AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design colleges 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 reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Rock Creek AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Rock Creek AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Rock Creek AL college you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Rock Creek AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Rock Creek AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Rock Creek AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Rock Creek home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Rock Creek AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Ideal Rock Creek Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior design school is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure 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 analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Rock Creek AL.