How to Pick the Right Interior Design School Lipscomb Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Lipscomb AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss 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 class choices are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Lipscomb AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example 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 choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Lipscomb AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to launch your new profession in Lipscomb AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some 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. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required 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 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs 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.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Lipscomb AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are working 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 a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have chosen 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 issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Lipscomb AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design college 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Lipscomb AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Lipscomb AL college you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Lipscomb AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Lipscomb AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Lipscomb AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Lipscomb home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Lipscomb AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Lipscomb Interior Design Program
Selecting the right interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lipscomb AL.