How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Course La Fayette Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near La Fayette 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 spaces, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories 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 essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers 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 concepts, La Fayette AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new profession in La Fayette AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. 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 deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things 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 mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their La Fayette AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs 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 commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your La Fayette AL home. Naturally 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 fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the college 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 La Fayette AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the La Fayette AL college you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. 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 an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of La Fayette AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the La Fayette AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the La Fayette AL schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your La Fayette home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near La Fayette AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll 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.
Select the Right La Fayette Interior Design Program
Choosing the ideal interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in La Fayette AL.