Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Foley Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Foley AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. It's important that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So in order to analyze and compare each program you are reviewing before you make your final selection it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right program? When checking out interior design programs, the majority of students begin by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Foley AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Foley AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in Foley AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized 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 programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Courses
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Foley AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working 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 convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Foley AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Foley AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get 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 calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Foley AL school you select should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Foley AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Foley AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting 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 provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Foley AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Foley home, visit the school and monitor a few 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly 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, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Foley Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Foley Alabama.