How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program 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 start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? Some prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will discuss those topics 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 training options are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Rock Creek AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Rock Creek AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in Rock Creek AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical 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 position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Rock Creek AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole option 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 costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Rock Creek AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Rock Creek AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides providing an excellent education, the Rock Creek AL school you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Rock Creek AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Rock Creek AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from 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 monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Rock Creek AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Pick the Best Rock Creek Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior design program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Rock Creek AL.