How to Select the Right Interior Designer Course Leesburg Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Leesburg AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Leesburg AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Leesburg AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new career in Leesburg AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven 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 choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining 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 the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order 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 called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Leesburg AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain 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 structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Leesburg AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Leesburg AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Leesburg AL college you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Leesburg AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Leesburg AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Leesburg AL schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Leesburg home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Leesburg AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Ideal Leesburg Interior Design Program
Choosing the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Leesburg AL.