How to Choose an Interior Design Program near Foley Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Foley AL, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s essential that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator in Foley AL if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Foley AL typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, Foley AL designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces 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 residential and commercial interior design in Foley AL that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new career. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for 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 short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered near Foley AL.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Foley AL area vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish 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.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no Foley AL area interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your Foley AL area college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s important to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Foley AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several states do require that interior designers become 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 school. And in several of those states mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Foley AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Foley AL area business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. A number of Foley AL area interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller 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 Foley AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the Foley AL interior design school you enroll in 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 go to classes in the evening or on weekends, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Ideal Interior Designer College near Foley AlabamaSelecting the right interior design college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.
Some Additional Cities of Interest in Alabama