How to Find an Interior Design College near Prattville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Prattville AL, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Many potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask 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 training alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Prattville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Prattville AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Prattville AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary 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 degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Prattville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting 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 minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure 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 receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Prattville AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s necessary to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation 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 agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Prattville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get 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 school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Prattville AL college you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing 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 school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Prattville AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Prattville AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Prattville AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Prattville home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Prattville AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Prattville AL?
Prattville is a city in Autauga and Elmore counties in the State of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 33,960. Nicknamed "The Fountain City" due to the many artesian wells in the area, Prattville is part of the Montgomery metropolitan statistical area and serves as the county seat of Autauga County.
Prattville was founded in 1839 by industrialist and architect Daniel Pratt. The area was largely inhabited by Native Americans and a few settlers when Pratt, a native of Temple, New Hampshire, first observed the Autauga Creek in the 1830s. He purchased approximately 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) from Joseph May at $21.00 an acre, and set out to build his manufacturing facilities and the town along the banks of Autauga Creek. The location was chosen because the creek could supply power to the cotton gin manufacturing equipment. The town became an industrial center and rapidly grew. In 1868, it was named the county seat for Autauga County.
On February 17, 2008, Prattville was hit by an F3 tornado which destroyed more than 45 homes and businesses and damaged over 700. Twenty-nine people were injured with no fatalities. Preliminary estimates put the damage at $85 million in insured and uninsured damages.
Choose the Best Interior Design School near Prattville AL
Selecting the right interior designer program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to recieve a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure 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 research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prattville AL.
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