How to Choose an Interior Designer Course near Alexander City Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Alexander City AL, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s essential that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s very important that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 compared to Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Alexander City AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Alexander City AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Alexander City AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Classes
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Alexander City AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great option 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 programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Alexander City AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s necessary to make sure 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 industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Alexander City AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Alexander City AL college you select should also furnish the suitable education 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 College’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Alexander City AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Alexander City AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Alexander City AL colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Alexander City home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Alexander City AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Alexander City AL?
Alexander City, Alabama
Alexander City, known to locals as "Alex City", is a city in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, United States, with a population of some 14,875. It is known for Lake Martin with its 750 miles (1,210 km) of wooded shoreline and 44,000 acres (18,000 ha) of water. Lake Martin stands on the Tallapoosa River and offers boating, swimming, fishing, golfing, and camping. Many neighborhoods and luxury homes are located on the lake.
Alexander City was incorporated in 1872 as Youngsville, after its founder James Young. In 1873, the Savannah and Memphis Railroad came to the city. The city was renamed in honor of the railroad's President Edward Porter Alexander, hero of the Battle of Gettysburg for the Confederate States.
On June 13, 1902, at 1 pm, a fire broke out in the Alexander City Machine shop and destroyed much of the town. At the time, Alexander City did not have a water system and all buildings, including the telegraph office, post office and three banks were burned.
Choose the Ideal Interior Design School near Alexander City AL
Selecting the ideal interior designer program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Alexander City AL.
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