How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Course Lipscomb Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Lipscomb AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Lipscomb AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room 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 working on public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need 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, Lipscomb AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Lipscomb AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Lipscomb AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed 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 some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Lipscomb AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected 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 instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Lipscomb AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get 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 school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Lipscomb AL college you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Lipscomb AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Lipscomb AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Lipscomb AL colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Lipscomb home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Lipscomb AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Right Lipscomb Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior design college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lipscomb AL.