How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Course Lillian Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Lillian 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 interiors, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Some prospective students will kick off 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 determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask 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 choices are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Lillian AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often 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, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus 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 emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Lillian AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new career in Lillian AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Lillian AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting 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 as well. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Lillian AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you choose 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 a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Lillian AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Lillian AL college you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Lillian AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Lillian AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Lillian AL colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Lillian home, visit the campus and sit in on 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 philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Lillian AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Lillian Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lillian AL.