How to Choose the Best Interior Design College near Lillian Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Lillian AL, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s essential that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, 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 vs Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting 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 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 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Lillian AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Lillian AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career in Lillian AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree 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 design training after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Lillian AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Lillian AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following 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 compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s necessary to verify that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Lillian AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Lillian AL school you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Lillian AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Lillian AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Lillian AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Lillian home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. While there speak with a few 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Lillian AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Where Can I Study Interior Design Lillian AL
Selecting the ideal interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many points 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 regarded in the field. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Where Can I Study Interior Design and wanted more info on the topic School Of Interior Design. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lillian AL.
Other Alabama Designer Locations
Lillian is an unincorporated community in eastern Baldwin County, Alabama, United States. Lillian is located on U.S. Route 98 on the western shore of Perdido Bay, 9.5 miles (15.3 km) east of Elberta.
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