How to Select the Right Interior Designer School Lake View Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Lake View AL, it's time to start 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 appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 choices are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Lake View AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Lake View AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new profession in Lake View AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university 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", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Lake View AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great solution 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 practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you choose 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Lake View AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Lake View AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Lake View AL school you select should also furnish the suitable 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? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support 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 sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Lake View AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Lake View AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Lake View AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Lake View home, visit the college and attend 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 experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Lake View AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Lake View Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lake View AL.