How to Select the Right Interior Designer Course Lookout Mountain Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Lookout Mountain AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 choices are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Lookout Mountain AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Lookout Mountain AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Lookout Mountain AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally 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 colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Lookout Mountain AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending 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 option if no interior design programs 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 study materials or commuting may be reduced 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 receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Lookout Mountain AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Lookout Mountain AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Lookout Mountain AL program you choose should also furnish the suitable 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 design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Lookout Mountain AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Lookout Mountain AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Lookout Mountain AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Lookout Mountain home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Lookout Mountain AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Right Lookout Mountain Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior design school is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor 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, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lookout Mountain AL.