How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program Locust Fork Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Locust Fork AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other important 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 training options are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Locust Fork AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including 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 selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Locust Fork AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new career in Locust Fork AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some 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 supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Locust Fork AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving 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 decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a respected 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 education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Locust Fork AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous 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 agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Locust Fork AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Locust Fork AL college you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 received your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Locust Fork AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Locust Fork AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program 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 may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Locust Fork AL schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Locust Fork home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Locust Fork AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Locust Fork Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Locust Fork AL.