How to Choose an Interior Designer School near Locust Fork Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Locust Fork AL, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s essential that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask 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 options are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator in Locust Fork AL if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Locust Fork AL frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, Locust Fork AL designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design in Locust Fork AL that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new career. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make 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 a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered near Locust Fork AL.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Locust Fork AL area community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree 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 design training after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish 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, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For students who to study in the comfort of their homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are working 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 many students online colleges may be the sole option if no Locust Fork AL area interior design colleges are within driving 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 sure that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized 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 education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your Locust Fork AL area college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s imperative to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Locust Fork AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some states do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those states calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Locust Fork AL school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination 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 no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Locust Fork AL area business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of Locust Fork AL area interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Locust Fork AL schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the Locust Fork AL interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your active 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, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Ideal Interior Designer College near Locust Fork AlabamaChoosing the right interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative 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 challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.
Some Additional Cities of Interest in Alabama