How to Select an Interior Design Course near Guntersville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Guntersville AL, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s essential that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final choice. But just where do you begin? Some potential students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask 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 training options are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Guntersville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Guntersville AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new profession in Guntersville AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Guntersville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good solution 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 practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Guntersville AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It’s necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Guntersville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Guntersville AL college you enroll in should also provide the proper 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 School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Guntersville AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Guntersville AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Guntersville AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Guntersville home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out 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 designer school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Guntersville AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Guntersville AL?
Guntersville (previously known as Gunter's Ferry and later Gunter's Landing) is a city and the county seat of Marshall County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census, the population of the city was 8,197. Guntersville is located in a HUBZone as identified by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 42.4 square miles (109.9 km2), of which 25.4 square miles (65.8 km2) is land and 17.0 square miles (44.1 km2), or 40.14%, is water.
Guntersville is located at the southernmost point of the Tennessee River on Lake Guntersville, formed by the Guntersville Dam (built by the Tennessee Valley Authority). Geologically, the lake occupies a southern extension of Sequatchie Valley, which continues south as Browns Valley.
Find the Right Interior Design School near Guntersville AL
Picking the ideal interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important 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 properly assess and compare colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Guntersville AL.
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