How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program La Fayette Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near La Fayette 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 interiors, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But where do you start? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will address those topics 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 options are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in La Fayette AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, 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 primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, La Fayette AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new career in La Fayette AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use 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 field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their La Fayette AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working 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 schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn 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 structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your La Fayette AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many La Fayette AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the La Fayette AL program you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. 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 high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of La Fayette AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the La Fayette AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the La Fayette AL colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your La Fayette home, go to the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near La Fayette AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Ideal La Fayette Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior designer program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in La Fayette AL.