How to Find the Right Interior Design Course Rock Creek Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Rock Creek AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? Some prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad 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 area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Rock Creek AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to begin your new career in Rock Creek AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain 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 some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive 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 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 furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Rock Creek AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges 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 conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Rock Creek AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional 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 undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Rock Creek AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Rock Creek AL school you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Rock Creek AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Rock Creek AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Rock Creek AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical 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 speak with some 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? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Rock Creek AL, verify 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 protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Rock Creek Interior Design Program
Choosing the ideal interior designer program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Rock Creek AL.