How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program Loxley Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Loxley AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the proper 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 training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work 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 requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Loxley AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas 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 many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Loxley AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new profession in Loxley AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations 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 profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade needed 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 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Loxley AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you choose 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 dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Loxley AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Loxley AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Loxley AL school you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Loxley AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Loxley AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Loxley AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Loxley home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Loxley AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Loxley Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Loxley AL.