How to Pick the Best Interior Design College near Lanett Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Lanett AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities 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 vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? Some potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Lanett AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Lanett AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new profession in Lanett AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Lanett AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting 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 program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Lanett AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Lanett AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Lanett AL program you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Lanett AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Lanett AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Lanett AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Lanett home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Lanett AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Right Lanett Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided 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 quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lanett Alabama.