How to Find the Right Interior Design College near Lexington Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Lexington AL, it’s time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s essential that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s vital that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But just where do you begin? Many future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will address those topics and other vital 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 available.
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Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate 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 team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Lexington AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial 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 spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Lexington AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new profession in Lexington AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that supply 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 lowest degree 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 attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialty 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 degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Lexington AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional 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 as well. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Lexington AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s necessary to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Lexington AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College 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 several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Lexington AL school you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance 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 regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Lexington AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Lexington AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Lexington AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Lexington home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask 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? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Lexington AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Undergraduate Interior Design Programs Lexington AL
Selecting the ideal interior design program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Undergraduate Interior Design Programs and wanted more info on the topic Interior Design Certificate. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lexington AL.
Other Alabama Designer Locations
Lexington is a town in Lauderdale County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Florence - Muscle Shoals Metropolitan Statistical Area known as "The Shoals". It incorporated in 1959. As of the 2010 census, the population of the town is 735, down from 840 in 2000. The current Mayor of Lexington is Sandra Killen-Burroughs, Wife of the Famous Race Car Driver Barry Burroughs.
As of the census of 2000, there were 840 people, 364 households, and 244 families residing in the town. The population density was 261.5 people per square mile (101.0/km²). There were 394 housing units at an average density of 122.6 per square mile (47.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 99.29% White, 0.24% Native American, and 0.48% from two or more races. 0.36% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 364 households out of which 27.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.2% were married couples living together, 8.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.7% were non-families. 30.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.86.
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