How to Choose an Interior Designer Degree Program near Camden Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Camden AL, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s imperative that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s crucial that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working 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 trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Camden AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Camden AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new career in Camden AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components 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 job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialized 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 their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Camden 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 going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative 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 costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Camden AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s important to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose has been accredited by 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Camden AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Camden AL program you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
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 job. Ask the schools 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 indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Camden AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Camden AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Camden AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Camden home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Camden AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Camden AL?
What is now Camden was established on property donated by Thomas Dunn from his plantation holdings in order to have a new town founded on the site in 1833 to serve as the county seat. Dunn's Federal style house, built in 1825, is the oldest documented house in the town. The first county seat was in the community of Canton Bend.
The county seat was moved in 1833 to Barboursville, later renamed Camden. It had been named Barboursville in honor of United States Congressman Philip Barbour of Virginia. Incorporated in 1841, Camden was renamed by local physician John D. Caldwell in honor of his hometown of Camden, South Carolina.
The area depended on cultivation of cotton as a commodity crop, which was worked by numerous African-American slaves. The earliest documented industries in the town were a brickyard, sawmill, and window fabricator. The Camden Phenix was the town's earliest known newspaper. Townspeople founded a girls' school in 1844, the Wilcox Female Seminary and Female Institute, whose red-brick Greek-Revival style building was constructed from 1845–50. In 1976 the former school was adapted to house the Wilcox County Historical Society.
Choose the Best Interior Design School near Camden AL
Picking the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Camden AL.
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