How to Pick an Interior Designer Program near Clanton Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Clanton AL, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s imperative that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 vs Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work 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 necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Clanton AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Clanton AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new profession in Clanton AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student 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 a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Clanton AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive 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 confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Clanton AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s essential to confirm that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Clanton AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Clanton AL program you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Clanton AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Clanton AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Clanton AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Clanton home, go to the college and attend a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Clanton AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Clanton AL?
Clanton is a city in Chilton County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Birmingham–Hoover–Cullman Combined Statistical Area. At the 2010 census the population was 8,619. The city is the county seat of Chilton County. Clanton is the site of the geographic center of the U.S state of Alabama.
The town was founded by Alfred Baker in 1868, when Chilton County was formed. Clanton was named in honor of General James H. Clanton, a brigadier in the Confederate States Army, and was incorporated on April 23, 1873. Baker was also elected first mayor of the town. Nearby Lay Lake Dam and Mitchell Dam became Alabama Power's first two dams in the state, bringing economic improvements to the area. Immigrants played a part in starting the county's peach industry more than a century ago. Today, the peach industry is the number one industry in Chilton County, not only bringing fame to the county, but also millions of dollars to the local economy. The city of Clanton constructed a water tower in the form of a peach in 1993, becoming a landmark for travelers along Interstate 65.
Clanton is located southeast of the center of Chilton County at 32°50'23.316" North, 86°37'41.477" West (32.839810, -86.628188). Clanton, Alabama, in Chilton county, is 37 miles NW of Montgomery, Alabama (center to center) and 144 miles SW of Atlanta, Georgia.
Select the Right Interior Design School near Clanton AL
Selecting the ideal interior design program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to recieve an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Clanton AL.
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