How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Course Locust Fork Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Locust Fork AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
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 have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Locust Fork AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Locust Fork AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Locust Fork AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt 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 required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Locust Fork AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain 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 school may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Locust Fork AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. 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 rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting 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 colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Locust Fork AL college you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Locust Fork AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Locust Fork AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Locust Fork AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Locust Fork home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Locust Fork AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Locust Fork Interior Design College
Picking the right interior design school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Locust Fork AL.