How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Course La Fayette Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near La Fayette AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of 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 crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? Many future students will start 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 should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone 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, conducting business as an interior designer requires 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 various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in La Fayette AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, La Fayette AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new profession in La Fayette AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required 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 benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components 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 position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their La Fayette AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your La Fayette AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. 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 gone through a demanding assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of La Fayette AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the La Fayette AL college you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of La Fayette AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the La Fayette AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the La Fayette AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your La Fayette home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near La Fayette AL, make sure 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 due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right La Fayette Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in La Fayette AL.