How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Program Locust Fork Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college 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 imperative that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Some potential students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 alternatives are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Locust Fork AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Locust Fork AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new profession in Locust Fork AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required 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 normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Locust Fork AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized 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 perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Locust Fork AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you choose 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Locust Fork AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Locust Fork AL school you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs 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 sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Locust Fork AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Locust Fork AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Locust Fork AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Locust Fork home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to 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 offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Pick the Best Locust Fork Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior design school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest 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 excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Locust Fork AL.