How to Choose the Right Interior Design College Ladonia Alabama
Once 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 talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But just where do you begin? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential 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 Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers 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 incorporating Feng shui concepts, Ladonia AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new career in Ladonia AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some 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 furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve 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 programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Ladonia AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Ladonia AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Ladonia AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Ladonia AL school you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Ladonia AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Ladonia AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Ladonia AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student 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 approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic 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, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Find the Right Ladonia Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ladonia AL.