How to Select the Right Interior Design School Luverne Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Luverne AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working 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 living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Luverne AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Luverne AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new career in Luverne AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven 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, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 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, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Luverne AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Luverne AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Luverne AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Luverne AL college you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer 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 yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Luverne AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Luverne AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Luverne AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Luverne home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. While there speak with some 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Luverne AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Best Luverne Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college 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 review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Luverne AL.