How to Choose an Interior Designer Program near Foley Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Foley 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 interiors, it’s important that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Some prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many 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 Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Foley AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Foley AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For anyone wishing’ to study in the convenience of their Foley AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges 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 traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Foley AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s essential to verify that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Foley AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Foley AL college you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Foley AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Foley AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Foley AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Foley home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to 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 offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Foley AL?
Foley is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States. The 2010 census lists the population of the city as 14,618. Foley is a principal city of the Daphne–Fairhope–Foley Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Baldwin County.
Foley was named for its founder, John B. Foley of Chicago.As Foley was traveling to President McKinley's funeral in 1901, he met a railroad agent who told him of the area in South Baldwin County. Foley came down the following year, and he liked what he saw and bought up to between 40,000 acres (160 km2) and 50,000 acres (200 km2) of land. He then returned to Chicago and formed the Magnolia Land Company. As he began to sell off acreage, he realized the need for a better way for the people to come to Foley.
Foley used some of his own money to lay the rails so the train could come from Bay Minette. The first railroad station was built in 1905. The original station burned in 1908 and was replaced the following year by the station that is now the City's museum. John Foley donated parcels of land for a school and churches. These included the current Catholic Church, Saint Margaret of Scotland, the Baptist church and the Methodist church. The first train to service Foley was a wood burner called the "Pine Knot Special." It would leave Foley in the morning and make a return trip in the afternoon. As people cleared the land, they would place lighter knots in a wood box for the engineer to use as was needed. Foley was incorporated in 1915 with G. I. Weatherly serving as its first mayor.
Pick the Best Interior Design School near Foley AL
Choosing the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to recieve a higher education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Foley AL.
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