How to Find the Best Interior Designer Course near Lanett Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Lanett AL, it's time to begin 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 right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 options are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the amount 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. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Lanett AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may 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 functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Lanett AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new career in Lanett AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges 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 those who wish to study in the comfort of their Lanett AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending 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 programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Lanett AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Lanett AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Lanett AL college you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Lanett AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Lanett AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Lanett AL schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Lanett home, go to the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Lanett AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Lanett Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior designer program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure 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 research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lanett Alabama.