How to Find an Interior Design Degree Program near Gardendale Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Gardendale 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 spaces, it’s essential that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. 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. 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 educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Gardendale AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Gardendale AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new career in Gardendale AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialty 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 programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five 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 some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For students who to study in the convenience of their Gardendale AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Gardendale AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s important to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national 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 assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Gardendale AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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 requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Gardendale AL college you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Gardendale AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Gardendale AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Gardendale AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Gardendale home, visit the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Gardendale AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Gardendale AL?
A large farm settlement near the area today known as Gardendale was settled around 1825. Some years later, other settlers began to move into the community commonly known as Jugtown, a name given to the area based on the presence of a large jug and churn factory that operated in the area. Some years later, Hettie Thomason Cargo, a school teacher, would lead a campaign to change the name of the community. In 1906, the name Gardendale was selected, and in 1955, the City of Gardendale was officially incorporated. Today, with more than 13,000 residents (estimated), the city of Gardendale has grown to include more than 400 businesses, 4 schools, and 24 churches.
In 1996, the Olympic torch run passed through the city during the weeks leading up to the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. Before Interstate 65 was constructed, the main route between Nashville, Tennessee and Birmingham, Alabama was U.S. Route 31. Prior to being built as a four-lane road, U.S. 31 was a twisting two-lane road that is still largely visible today. From the north end of Gardendale, it is now Snow Rogers Road, North Road, Moncrief Road, and then Main Street southward through the city to the Fultondale city limit where it becomes Stouts Road. In the fall of 2008, new signs were placed along the original route of Stouts Road through Gardendale denoting its historical significance as a stagecoach route between Tennessee and Birmingham during the 19th century. The first traffic signals in the city were located along U.S. 31 at Tarrant Road, Fieldstown Road, and Moncrief Road as well as Tarrant Road at Pineywood Road. A new signal at the intersection of Fieldstown Road and Main Street near city hall replaced a blinking signal shortly thereafter. Fieldstown Road was a narrow two lane road from U.S. 31 westward until Interstate 65 was built and then Fieldstown Road was re-routed onto the new road in the mid-1980s. An abundance of traffic signals have been erected in the city since those early days. In approximately 1970, the city installed street lights along U.S. 31 from the Fultondale city limits northward to the Moncrief Road intersection. The technology at that time was for blue vapor lights. Today, nearly 40 years later those same blue vapor lights still exist with some being replaced with the more modern bulbs near major intersections. Since 1980, Gardendale has annexed considerable amounts of land on the north, east, and west sides. Much of the eastern area is uninhabited. The western annexation is centered along Fieldstown Road. Most of the newest residential development has been in this area and along Shady Grove Road south of Fieldstown Road. The northern annexation has centered along US 31 and extends nearly 2 miles (3.2 km) farther north than 1980. The city has a working historical society, established January 23, 2006, that is working to record the history of the Gardendale area. They have a museum that is open to the public on Saturday mornings each week. It contains a variety of photographs, documents, and other historical memorabilia from Gardendale.
Gardendale is located at 33°39′36″N 86°48′46″W / 33.66000°N 86.81278°W / 33.66000; -86.81278 (33.6601033, -86.8127702). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.0 square miles (47 km2), all land. However, with the recent annexation of several thousand acres from the community of Mt. Olive and other unincorporated areas, the city now has an estimated total area of around 25.0 square miles (65 km2). Gardendale is situated along one of the three major transportation corridors from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast (I-75, I-65, I-55). A tremendous volume of freight (via rail and truck) passes through or near Gardendale.
Pick the Ideal Interior Design School near Gardendale AL
Picking the right interior design program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to recieve a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Gardendale AL.
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