How to Select the Right Interior Design Course near Lanett Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer 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 commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Some prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask 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 class options are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Lanett AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Lanett AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Lanett AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain 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 offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to study in the comfort of their Lanett AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good 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 laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Lanett AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Lanett AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Lanett AL college you select should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy 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 design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Lanett AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Lanett AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Lanett AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Lanett home, visit the college and attend 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 styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Lanett AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Lanett Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lanett Alabama.