How to Select an Interior Design College near Autaugaville Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Autaugaville AL, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s important that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education 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 spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Autaugaville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Autaugaville AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Autaugaville AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of 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. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Autaugaville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a respected 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 distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Autaugaville AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s important to make sure that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. 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 a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Autaugaville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Autaugaville AL program you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing 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 probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Autaugaville AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Autaugaville AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Autaugaville AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Autaugaville home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Autaugaville AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Autaugaville AL?
As of the census of 2010, there were 870 people, 350 households, and 243 families residing in the town. The population density was 114.2 people per square mile (44.1/km2). There were 412 housing units at an average density of 54.1 per square mile (20.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 66.8% Black or African American, 31.3% White, 0.2% Native American, 0.3% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. 0.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 350 households of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.6% were married couples living together, 4.9% had a male householder with no wife present, 26.0% has a female householder with no husband present, and 30.6% were non-families. 26.6% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the town, the population was spread out with 27.1% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.3 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.6 males.
Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Autaugaville AL
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to recieve a higher education, there are many things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Autaugaville AL.
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