Interior Designer Program
How to Select the Best One Near Foley Alabama
So it’s time to start the task of picking an interior design school near Foley AL now that you have made a career choice to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? When checking out interior design schools, many potential students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. However, a school is not always the best choice simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Foley AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial 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 produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Foley AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Foley AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring 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 enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically 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 examination.
Online Interior Designer Courses
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Foley AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded 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 online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Foley AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Foley AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Foley AL school you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Foley AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Foley AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Foley AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Foley home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant 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 certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Foley Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior designer school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. It is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Foley Alabama.