How to Select an Interior Designer College near Columbia Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Columbia AL, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s essential that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training 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 final decision. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Columbia AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must 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 concepts, Columbia AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new career in Columbia AL. Your choice 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, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialty 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. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Columbia AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting 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 also. Just make certain that the college 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Columbia AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s necessary to confirm that the interior design college 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Columbia AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Columbia AL program you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam 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? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Columbia AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Columbia AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Columbia AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Columbia home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in 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 Columbia AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Columbia AL?
At the age of 18 Columbia was hired to assist Bill Sienkiewicz in illustrating Alan Moore's ambitious Big Numbers series. When Sienkiewicz withdrew from the series in 1990 after the release of the first two issues, Moore and his backers at Tundra Publishing asked the young Columbia to become its sole artist. In 1992, with no more issues released, Columbia himself left the project under a cloud of rumors and accusations, including claims that he had destroyed his own artwork for Big Numbers #4. Columbia declined to address the subject publicly for several years, writing in a 1998 letter to The Comics Journal that "I could easily launch into a tirade about the extensive horror of my Tundra experience, but I much prefer the very entertaining and conflicting accounts already in circulation." In later statements he confirmed that he destroyed his artwork but disputed other claims by the principal figures in the fiasco.
In a 2011 article reflecting on his Big Numbers experience, Sienkiewicz wrote that he and Columbia had long since reconciled over the matter, and that he was content to "[c]halk the feud up to the folly of youth."
Columbia's first solo comic book, Doghead, was released by Tundra Publishing in 1992. It contains three short stories, two in black and white and one in full color. Paul Gravett described it as "three dark, stylish tales, indebted to Sienkiewicz and McKean but with hints of [Columbia's] emerging singular identity".
Find the Ideal Interior Design School near Columbia AL
Selecting the right interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field 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, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Columbia AL.
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