How to Select an Interior Design Degree Program near Loachapoka Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Loachapoka AL, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s important that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several 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 crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. 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 taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Loachapoka AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Loachapoka AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Loachapoka AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required 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 provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly 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 cover the technical and creative facets of the trade 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 furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ 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 several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Schools
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Loachapoka AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be 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 programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Loachapoka AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s imperative to make sure that the interior design program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Loachapoka AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require 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 school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Loachapoka AL program you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer 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 assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Loachapoka AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Loachapoka AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Loachapoka AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Loachapoka home, go to the school and monitor a couple of 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 experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Loachapoka AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Loachapoka AL?
Loachapoka is a town in Lee County, Alabama, United States. It is located less than 1/2 mile west of the City of Auburn and approximately 5 miles West of Auburn University, in west-central Lee County. The population was 180 as of the 2010 census. It is part of the Auburn metropolitan area.
The name "Loachapoka" means "turtle killing place" in Muskogee, with locha meaning "turtle" and poga meaning "killing place." In literature, Lochapoka was the destination of the colonists in James H. Street's 1940 novel Oh, Promised Land.
Loachapoka is governed by a mayor and 5 town council members. However, in the most recent municipal election (2016), no incumbents submitted qualifying paperwork to run for re-election. Therefore, the only citizen that did qualify for the ballot became mayor-elect, as per state law, and this was confirmed by the AL Director of Elections. When the mayor-elect brought the issue to light, several town, county and state officials worked together in a poorly hatched plan to improperly disqualify the only candidate to follow the law for qualification, as referenced in several newspaper articles and audio recordings of town hall meetings. The corruption portrayed in this series of events reflect a pattern of politics in Alabama that has been commonplace for many years, as reported in the Harvard Political Review.
Choose the Ideal Interior Design School near Loachapoka AL
Choosing the ideal interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Loachapoka AL.
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