How to Choose an Interior Design Degree Program near Leesburg Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Leesburg AL, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents 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 also. So it’s very important that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But just where do you begin? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. 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 first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Leesburg AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal 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 appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Leesburg AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new career in Leesburg AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Leesburg AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized 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 online or distance 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 ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Leesburg AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It’s imperative to verify that the interior design program and school 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 an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college 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, a number of Leesburg AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Leesburg AL program you select should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Leesburg AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Leesburg AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. 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 actually be less expensive than its competitors 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 larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Leesburg AL colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Leesburg home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Leesburg AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Leesburg AL?
Leesburg was originally called Hamptonville; it was named for Joseph Hampton and the Henslee family respectively. A post office was established as Hamptonville in 1836, and in 1839 the name was changed to Leesburg.
Leesburg is located in western Cherokee County at 34°10'57.446" North, 85°46'8.350" West (34.182624, -85.768986). It is bordered by Lookout Mountain and the town of Sand Rock to the north and Weiss Lake on the Coosa River to the south. Weiss Dam, forming the lake, is located just south of the town limits.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,027 people, 409 households, and 298 families residing in the town. The population density was 160 people per square mile (61.8/km²). There were 663 housing units at an average density of 103.6 per square mile (39.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.5% White, 0.0% Native American, 0.0% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. 1.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Leesburg AL
Picking the right interior designer school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to recieve a higher education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Leesburg AL.
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