How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Course Rock Creek Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college 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 spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other vital 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 alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Rock Creek AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Rock Creek AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new career in Rock Creek AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make 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 accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For students who to study in the convenience of their Rock Creek AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs 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 traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Rock Creek AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. 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 programs and teachers. 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 exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Rock Creek AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep 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) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Rock Creek AL school you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher 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 school has a significant network of Rock Creek AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Rock Creek AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Rock Creek AL schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Rock Creek home, visit the college 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 experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening 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, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Best Rock Creek Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Rock Creek AL.