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How to Select the Right Interior Designer College Rock Creek Alabama

Rock Creek Alabama luxury interior designed spacious bathroomNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Rock Creek AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education 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 functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate 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 room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to 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 principles, Rock Creek AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.

Interior Design Degree Programs

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new profession in Rock Creek AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted 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 mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the 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 advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Colleges

For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Rock Creek AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative 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 expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure 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 programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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When you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Rock Creek AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning 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 agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Rock Creek AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Rock Creek AL college you select should also provide the proper instruction 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? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Rock Creek AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Rock Creek AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Rock Creek AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Rock Creek home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Rock Creek AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Accredited Rock Creek Interior Design Colleges

Pick the Right Rock Creek Interior Design School

Picking the right interior designer college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several points to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Rock Creek AL.