Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Fort Payne Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of choosing an interior design school near Fort Payne AL now that you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. It's important that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But where do you start? When looking for interior design programs, the majority of students start by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN CAREER BELOW!
Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Fort Payne AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly 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 stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Fort Payne AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new career in Fort Payne AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Fort Payne AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Fort Payne AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Fort Payne AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Fort Payne AL program you select should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Fort Payne AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Fort Payne AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Fort Payne AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Fort Payne home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Fort Payne AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Fort Payne Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fort Payne Alabama.