How to Pick an Interior Designer Course near Alabaster Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Alabaster 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 interiors, it’s imperative that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s essential that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main 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 spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Alabaster AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal 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 hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Alabaster AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Alabaster AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide alternatives in specialized 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 desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Alabaster AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic 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 some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Alabaster AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s essential to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Alabaster AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Alabaster AL school you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy 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 attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Alabaster AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Alabaster AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Alabaster AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Alabaster home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Alabaster AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Alabaster AL?
Alabaster is a city and southern suburb of Birmingham in Shelby County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 30,352. According to the 2013 Census Estimates, the city had a population of 31,342. Alabaster is the 16th largest city in Alabama (by number of residents) and still a growing population.
Alabaster mostly occupies the Cahaba and Opossum Valleys, which are divided by the Pine Ridge that runs north to south. To the east and west, both valleys are flanked by parallel mountain ridges that locally run north to south, but are a part of a larger system of ridges that generally runs north-east to south-west (the tailing ends of the Appalachian foothills). The valleys are drained by small creeks (Buck Creek, Beaverdam Creek) which flow into the Cahaba River.
George L. Scott, Sr., an Alabaster pioneer, owned and operated Alabaster Lime Co. His shipping point was known as “Scott Rock”. Later, housing was built to accommodate some of the employees, and the community acquired its name Alabaster from the "white calcium carbonate mineral". The First Bank of Alabaster opened in 1952, and its president was George L. Scott, Jr., who later became the first mayor of Alabaster. The first attempt in 1952 to incorporate Alabaster failed. In January 1953, the petition was again filed, and on February 23, 1953, Alabaster was officially incorporated with a favorable vote of 79 to 23, and 427 residing inhabitants. In 1955, the Alabaster Water and Gas Board was formed.
Choose the Right Interior Design School near Alabaster AL
Choosing the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to recieve an advanced education, there are several points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Alabaster AL.
More Awesome Cities in Alabama
Business Results 1 - 10 of 14