How to Choose an Interior Designer College near Boaz Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Boaz AL, it’s time to start 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 talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s very important that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But just where do you begin? Some prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary 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 spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Boaz AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially 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 dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Boaz AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Boaz AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment 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 degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For anyone wishing’ to study in the comfort of their Boaz AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Boaz AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s essential to make sure that the interior design school and program that you select 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 undergone an extensive evaluation 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 organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Boaz AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready 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 some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Boaz AL program you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing 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 college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Boaz AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Boaz AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Boaz AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Boaz home, visit the school 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 philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Boaz AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Boaz AL?
Boaz is a city in Marshall and Etowah counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. It is part of the Albertville, Alabama Micropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 9,551. Boaz is known for its outlet shops.
First settled in the 1850s, the town of Boaz was officially founded November 11, 1878 by the Sparks Family of Georgia. A post office has been in operation since 1887. The city was named after Boaz, from the Bible. It was incorporated in 1897.
The Julia Street Memorial United Methodist Church, Snead Junior College Historic District, the Thomas A. Snellgrove Homestead, and the Edward Fenns Whitman House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage lists the Boaz Elementary School, the First Baptist Church and Cemetery, and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
Select the Best Interior Design School near Boaz AL
Choosing the right interior design college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Boaz AL.
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