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How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School near Foley Alabama

Foley Alabama interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Foley AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? A number of potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Foley AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Foley AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.

Interior Design Training Programs

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There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Foley AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade needed 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 two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Foley AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Foley AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at as well, 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 to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Foley AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Foley AL college you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Foley AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Foley AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Foley AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Foley home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Foley AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Foley Interior Design Degrees

Choose in the Best Foley Interior Design College

Choosing the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Foley Alabama.