How to Choose the Right Interior Designer School Ladonia Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Ladonia AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover 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 confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work 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 formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Ladonia AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. 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 particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Ladonia AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new profession in Ladonia AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets 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 furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For students who to study in the convenience of their Ladonia AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online 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 perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Ladonia AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following 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 examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. 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 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 Ladonia AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Ladonia AL college you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering 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 esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Ladonia AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Ladonia AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Ladonia AL programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Ladonia home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Ladonia AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Ladonia Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ladonia AL.