How to Select the Right Interior Design Program Rogersville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Rogersville AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other crucial 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 available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training 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 work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Rogersville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Rogersville AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in Rogersville AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ 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", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Rogersville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Rogersville AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Rogersville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Rogersville AL program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools 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 a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Rogersville AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Rogersville AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed 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 competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Rogersville AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Rogersville home, visit the campus 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 credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Rogersville AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Ideal Rogersville Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Rogersville AL.