How to Select an Interior Design Degree Program near Chelsea Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Chelsea AL, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s important that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Chelsea AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Chelsea AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new profession in Chelsea AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief 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 roughly two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally 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 sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Chelsea AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic 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 many students online schools 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. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Chelsea AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s necessary to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Chelsea AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Chelsea AL school you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Chelsea AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Chelsea AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Chelsea AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Chelsea home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Chelsea AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Chelsea AL?
Chelsea is a city in Shelby County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Birmingham metropolitan area. Chelsea was incorporated on March 1, 1996, with a population of 906. At the 2000 census the population was 2,949. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2010 population for Chelsea was 10,183. Its seasonal campsite for visitors is Hargis Retreat which began in 1984. Chelsea is widely considered the fastest growing city in Shelby County, which is the fastest growing county in the state of Alabama.
In 2010, Chelsea had a population of 10,183. The racial and ethnic composition of the population was 90.5% white or Caucasian, 4.7% black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 2.0% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.1% from some other race, 1.3% from two or more races and 3.2% Hispanic or Latino of any race.
At the 2000 census, there were 2,949 people, 1,022 households and 849 families residing in the city. The population density was 293.6 per square mile (113.4/km2). There were 1,091 housing units at an average density of 108.6 per square mile (42.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.78% White, 0.78% Black or African American, 0.88% Native American, 0.17% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.58% from other races, and 0.78% from two or more races. 0.81% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Find the Ideal Interior Design School near Chelsea AL
Selecting the ideal interior design school is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Chelsea AL.
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