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How to Select the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Lipscomb Alabama

Lipscomb Alabama luxury interior designed spacious bathroomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Lipscomb AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? Many prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Lipscomb AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to 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 concepts, Lipscomb AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new profession in Lipscomb AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required 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 level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects 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 job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use 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 needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Degree Programs

For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Lipscomb AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

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When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Lipscomb AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. 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 programs and teachers. Just verify 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 excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Lipscomb AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Lipscomb AL college you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Lipscomb AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Lipscomb AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Lipscomb AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Lipscomb home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with some 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Lipscomb AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Accredited Lipscomb Interior Design Colleges

Enroll in the Right Lipscomb Interior Design College

Choosing the ideal interior design program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lipscomb AL.