How to Find an Interior Designer Degree Program near Locust Fork Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Locust Fork AL, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s essential that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s very important that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Locust Fork AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Locust Fork AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new career in Locust Fork AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets 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 position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Locust Fork AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option 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 study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Locust Fork AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick 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 field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Locust Fork AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Locust Fork AL school you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, 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 trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Locust Fork AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Locust Fork AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Locust Fork AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Locust Fork home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask 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? Last, confirm that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Locust Fork AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Locust Fork AL?
Locust Fork, Alabama
While traveling south with his troops in 1815, General Andrew Jackson camped along a river in the area. General Jackson carved his name in a locust tree, naming the area Locust Fork. In the early 1800s Nick Hudson built a public inn in what is now Locust Fork. He erected barns to shelter the horses and hogs of the Tennessee farmers who drove them to the deeper South for a more profitable market.
Locust Fork is located southwest of the center of Blount County, at 33°53'47.494" North, 86°37'50.048" West (33.896526, -86.630569). It is situated on a bluff overlooking the Blackburn Fork of the Little Warrior River. Just north of town, the Blackburn Fork enters the Little Warrior River, which flows into the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River 2 miles (3 km) northwest of the town.
Locust Fork is located in one of the northeast-to-southwest valleys that make up the southern end of the Appalachian mountain chain. Sand Mountain forms the southeast side of the valley, and McAnnally Mountain and Hog Mountain form part of a broader, more broken ridge to the northwest. The area has been mined for coal over the past 100 years, but no current active coal mining operations exist in the immediate area, which consists of rolling hill farm country.
Pick the Best Interior Design School near Locust Fork AL
Choosing the ideal interior design school is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to recieve an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Locust Fork AL.
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