How to Choose an Interior Design College near Loxley Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Loxley AL, it’s time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s essential that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Loxley AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may 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, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Loxley AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to start your new profession in Loxley AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student 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 the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs 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 Design Online Degree Programs
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Loxley AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of 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 study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Loxley AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s imperative to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation 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 college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Loxley AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Loxley AL school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Loxley AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Loxley AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Loxley AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Loxley home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Loxley AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Loxley AL?
Loxley is a town in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the town was 1,632. It is part of the Daphne-Fairhope-Foley micropolitan area. Loxley is becoming a popular location for the expansion of the suburbs from Daphne and Spanish Fort, Alabama, because it is served by an Interstate 10 exit and is almost directly between the cities of Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida.
In 1870, a man from Chicago by the name of John Loxley established a lumber camp in the area previously known as Bennet. The lumber camp included a commissary and saw mill. The men that traveled with Loxley settled in what later became the town of Loxley. John Loxley returned to Chicago when the lumber was exhausted.
The train depot opened on May 5, 1906, on the Fort Morgan Line. Before that, there were only wagon roads to Bay Minette. Also in 1906, the Loxley post office was opened by Octavia Sauer. She served as the postmistress and depot agent. By 1920, the businesses in Loxley consisted of an egg store, grocery store, two general merchandise stores, train depot, drug store, telegraph office, land office, repair garage, post office, bank, hotel, butcher shop, orange packing shed, cement block plant, a blacksmith, a feed and lumber store. A grammar school was built in 1925.
Pick the Right Interior Design School near Loxley AL
Picking the ideal interior designer program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Loxley AL.
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