How to Select an Interior Designer Program near Lafayette Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Lafayette AL, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s crucial that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Lafayette AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Lafayette AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new career in Lafayette AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed 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 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college 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 mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Lafayette AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Lafayette AL home. Obviously 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 cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s necessary to confirm that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Lafayette AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Lafayette AL school you select should also furnish the suitable training 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? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Lafayette AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Lafayette AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Lafayette AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Lafayette home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you choose offers 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 Lafayette AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Lafayette AL?
LaFayette (/ləˈfeɪ.ɛt, -ˈfaɪ-/ lə-F(A)Y-et, /ˈlʌfeɪ.ɛt/ LUF-ay-et) is the county seat of Chambers County, Alabama, United States, 47 miles (76 km) northwest of Columbus, Georgia. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 3,003.
Chambers County was formed in 1832. The newly elected county officials opted to locate the county seat as near as possible to the center of the county. Lots for the new town were auctioned in October 1833, with proceeds from the sale financing the construction of a courthouse and jail. The town was first called "Chambersville", but by the time of incorporation on January 7, 1835, the town name had been changed to "Lafayette", named after the Marquis de Lafayette; its spelling was changed to "LaFayette" due to the influence of newspaper editor Johnson J. Hooper, who created a fictional character called Captain Simon Suggs, a backwoods southerner who pronounced the town's name as "La Fait". The city's newspaper, The LaFayette Sun, was founded under the name The Alabama Standard in April 1841 and adopted its current name on August 3, 1881.
Lafayette is the birthplace of heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis. An 8-foot (2.4 m) bronze statue, executed by sculptor Casey Downing Jr. of Mobile, Alabama, was erected in Louis' honor in front of the Chambers County courthouse. It is also the hometown of Hoyt L. Sherman, one of artist Roy Lichtenstein's principal art professor/mentors at Ohio State University.
Find the Best Interior Design School near Lafayette AL
Choosing the right interior design college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to recieve an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Lafayette AL.
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