How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Course Lake View Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college 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 get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? Many prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Lake View AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Lake View AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Lake View AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position 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 specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely 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 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Lake View AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain 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 obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Lake View AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Lake View AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Lake View AL program you select should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, 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 graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Lake View AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Lake View AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Lake View AL colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Lake View home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Lake View AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Best Lake View Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lake View AL.