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How to Pick the Right Interior Design Degree Program Loxley Alabama

Loxley Alabama beautiful interior designed custom bathroomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Loxley 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 interiors, it's imperative that you get the proper 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 vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education 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 living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Loxley AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently 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 can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Loxley AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.

Interior Designer Degree Options

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There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Loxley AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use 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 called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Schools

For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Loxley AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great alternative 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 a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs

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Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Loxley AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer school 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Loxley AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Loxley AL school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Loxley AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Loxley AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Loxley AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Loxley home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds 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 hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Loxley AL, make certain that those classes are offered. 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 protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Learn More About Online Loxley Interior Design Colleges

Enroll in the Ideal Loxley Interior Design College

Choosing the ideal interior designer program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Loxley AL.