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How to Choose the Right Interior Design Course Lafayette Alabama

Lafayette Alabama luxury interior designed spacious bathroomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Lafayette AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics and other important 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 training options are offered.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Lafayette AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, 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 incorporating Feng shui principles, Lafayette AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.

Interior Design Degrees

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Lafayette AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically 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 facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Design Degree Programs

For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Lafayette AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. 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 sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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When you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Lafayette AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged 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 requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Lafayette AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Lafayette AL program you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Lafayette AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Lafayette AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes 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 Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Lafayette AL schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Lafayette home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Lafayette AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

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Select the Best Lafayette Interior Design Program

Picking the ideal interior design program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lafayette AL.