Interior Designer Course
How to Pick the Best One Near Fort Payne Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Fort Payne AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the college you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing test and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's vital you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right program? Some future students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right choice just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Fort Payne AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently 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 specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Fort Payne AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new career in Fort Payne AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Fort Payne AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Fort Payne AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from 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 evaluation 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 excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Fort Payne AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Fort Payne AL school you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Fort Payne AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Fort Payne AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Fort Payne AL schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Fort Payne home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Fort Payne 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 protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find Out More About How to Become an Interior Designer in Fort Payne
Enroll in the Best Fort Payne Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. It is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fort Payne Alabama.
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