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How to Find the Right Interior Design Program Lake View Alabama

Lake View Alabama elegant interior designed spacious bathroomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Lake View 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 important that you obtain the proper 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 preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 available.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates 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 living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Lake View AL can specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Lake View AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.

Interior Designer Degree Programs

open Lake View Alabama interior designed living room

There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new career in Lake View AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered 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 required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree 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 design training after acquiring 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 enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of 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 examination.

Online Interior Design Classes

For students who to study in the convenience of their Lake View AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Lake View AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment 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 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 requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Lake View AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Lake View AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Lake View AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Lake View AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer 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 minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Lake View AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Lake View home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Lake View AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Accredited Lake View Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Best Lake View Interior Design School

Selecting the ideal interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking 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, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you complete 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 colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lake View AL.