Interior Designer Degree
How to Pick the Best One Near Foley Alabama
So it’s time to begin 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 interiors, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the school you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing test and provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's essential you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right program? When checking out interior design schools, many potential students start by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. However, a school is not always the best choice simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are many other qualifications that you should evaluate when comparing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many 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 functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Foley AL may 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 particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary 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 use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Foley AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Foley AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced 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 select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions 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 profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for 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 technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position 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 provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Foley AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Foley AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Foley AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Foley AL college you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Foley AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Foley AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
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 limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Foley AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Foley home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Foley AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Foley Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. 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 schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Foley Alabama.