How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program Lillian Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Lillian AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Lillian AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Lillian AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new career in Lillian AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment 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 creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Lillian AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional 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 recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Lillian AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Lillian AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Lillian AL school you enroll in 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 working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign 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 signify that the college has a substantial network of Lillian AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Lillian AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Lillian AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Lillian home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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, make sure that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Lillian AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Lillian Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lillian AL.