How to Pick an Interior Design Degree Program near Red Bay Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Red Bay AL, it’s time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s essential that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final decision. But where do you begin? Many potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Red Bay AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Red Bay AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Red Bay AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For anyone wishing’ to study in the comfort of their Red Bay AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic 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 a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school 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 acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Red Bay AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s important 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 respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college 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 exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Red Bay AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Red Bay AL school you enroll in should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Red Bay AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Red Bay AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Red Bay AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Red Bay home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Red Bay AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Red Bay AL?
Red Bay, Alabama
Red Bay is a city in Franklin County, Alabama, United States. It was founded in 1907. The population was 3,158 at the 2010 census, down from 3,374 at the 2000 census. The town's name likely comes from its location amid a large stand of redbay trees at the time of its founding.
What is now Red Bay was originally known as "Vinson's Crossroads," and was initially located further to the southwest along Gum Creek. A branch of the Illinois Central Railroad was constructed through the area in 1907, and Red Bay developed into an important lumber and shipping center. The city incorporated during this same period.
The first school in Red Bay was located where the First United Methodist Church stands today. In 1903, this school had one faculty member who was responsible for teaching, as well as most of the custodial duties. After crops were harvested, students attended school through the remainder of the fall and winter months until the spring planting season.
Choose the Right Interior Design School near Red Bay AL
Selecting the ideal interior design program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Red Bay AL.
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