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How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Course near Foley Alabama

Foley Alabama interior designed living room with viewNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Foley AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But where do you start? A number of potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess 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 work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Foley AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. 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 instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Foley AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.

Interior Designer Degree Options

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There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new profession in Foley AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Foley AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive 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 setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

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Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Foley AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by 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 gone through a demanding assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Foley AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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 calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Foley AL college you choose should also provide the suitable education 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, 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 trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Foley AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Foley AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Foley AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Foley home, go to the school 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Foley AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Colleges

Enroll in the Best Foley Interior Design College

Selecting the ideal interior designer program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Foley Alabama.