How to Choose the Right Interior Design College Reform 35481
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Reform AL, it’s time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination 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 prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Reform AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Reform AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new career in Reform AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in 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 take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly 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 three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For students who to study in the convenience of their Reform AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Reform AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s essential to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Reform AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require 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 school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Reform AL school you select should also furnish the suitable education 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 attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt 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, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Reform AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Reform AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Reform AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Reform home, visit the school and monitor 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 backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Reform AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enrolling in an Interior Design School near Reform AL?
Perhaps you are considering attending an interior design degree program in the Reform Alabama area. If so, you may find the following information about the location of your new school campus interesting and informative.
Reform is a city in Pickens County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 1,702, down from 1,978 in 2000. It is located approximately halfway between Columbus, Mississippi and Tuscaloosa on U.S. Route 82.
Sparsely settled after statehood, Reform first received a post office in 1841. It wasn't incorporated until March 2, 1898, following the community getting train service via the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. According to tradition, the community was named from an incident when an evangelist paid the new settlement a visit, imploring the first settlers to "reform".
In May 1968, a mule train, part of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference sponsored Poor People's Campaign, stopped for two days in Reform before heading to Tuscaloosa, Alabama on its way to Washington, DC.
Select the Best Interior Design School near Reform AL
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. You originally came upon this website because you had an initial interest in Accredited Interior Design Schools. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Reform AL.
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