How to Choose an Interior Designer College near Saginaw Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Saginaw AL, it’s time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s essential that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person 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, doing business as an interior designer requires 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 spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Saginaw AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Saginaw AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new profession in Saginaw AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed 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 furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For students who to study in the comfort of their Saginaw AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended 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 colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Saginaw AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should 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 in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s imperative to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Saginaw AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require 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 some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Saginaw AL college you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Saginaw AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Saginaw AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Saginaw AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Saginaw home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Saginaw AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Saginaw AL?
Saginaw is an unincorporated community 2.5 miles north of Calera in Shelby County, Alabama, United States with zip code 35137. It is part of the Birmingham-Hoover-Cullman Combined Statistical Area. It is located southeast of Alabaster on the east side of Interstate 65 at the intersection of State Route 70 and U.S. Route 31.
Saginaw is the home of the Saginaw Pipe Company, Inc., a major supplier of steel pipe, beams, tubing, and plate. The Dravo Lime Company quarry in Saginaw was honored for their outstanding safety record in the annual Sentinels of Safety awards program co-sponsored by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and the National Mining Association (NMA) in 1997 and 1999.
The U.S. Census bureau does not keep separate statistics for Saginaw. As of the census of 2000, for Block Group 2, Census Tract 306.09, Shelby County, Alabama, which is the census block group that includes the center of Saginaw, the total population was 1,684 people, with a racial makeup of 97.1% white, 2.2% black, and 0.7% mixed or other races.
Pick the Ideal Interior Design School near Saginaw AL
Picking the ideal interior designer school 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 talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to recieve a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Saginaw AL.
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