How to Select an Interior Designer College near Eight Mile Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Eight Mile AL, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s imperative that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s essential that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Some prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 choices are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training 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 collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Eight Mile AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Eight Mile AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to begin your new profession in Eight Mile AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential 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 attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For students who to study in the comfort of their Eight Mile AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded 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 distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Eight Mile AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s important to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation 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 agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Eight Mile AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Eight Mile AL program you choose should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. 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 an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Eight Mile AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Eight Mile AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Eight Mile AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Eight Mile home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Eight Mile AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Eight Mile AL?
Eight Mile, Alabama
Eight Mile is an unincorporated community in Mobile County, Alabama, United States. The community is named for its distance from the city of Mobile. Part of it was annexed in the mid-20th century by the city of Prichard, Alabama.
In 2008 lightning struck a mercaptan storage tank at a Mobile Gas Service Corp. underground natural gas pipeline at the Whistler Junction gas transfer facility within the Eight Mile community. An estimated 500 US gallons (1,900 l; 420 imp gal) of Mercaptan, the chemical odorant added to natural gas to help detect leaks, spilled into the soil and groundwater for 6 months, according to Alabama state environmental officials. It has migrated to ponds and surfaced, polluting the community's air.
Beginning in 2011, residents in Eight Mile began complaining of an overwhelming mercaptan odor and associated health problems. They have concerns about the damage to their health from the chemical, and to property values from its persistent rotten egg smell. They appealed for a state and federal investigation.
Pick the Right Interior Design School near Eight Mile AL
Picking the ideal interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare programs 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 Eight Mile AL.
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