How to Choose an Interior Design College near Elba Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Elba AL, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s important that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business 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 work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Elba AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Elba AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Elba AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of 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. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For students who to study in the convenience of their Elba AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good solution 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 convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized 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 setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Elba AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s necessary to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Elba AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Elba AL college you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Elba AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Elba AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Elba AL schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Elba home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Elba AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Elba AL?
Elba is a city in Coffee County, Alabama, United States. At the time of the 2010 U.S. census, its population was 3,940. Elba is part of the Enterprise micropolitan statistical area. Elba is the official county seat of Coffee County, though there are two county courthouses, with the other one being located in the town of Enterprise.
The town which eventually became Elba originated near a ferry across the Pea River in the early 1830s. Originally called Bridgeville, a U.S. post office was established in the town by 1841. In 1851, a lottery to determine a new name for the town was held. One citizen had been reading a biography of Napoleon Bonaparte, and his suggestion of "Elba" as its name was the winner when it was drawn from a hat before any of the other suggestions. Elba became the county seat of Coffee County in 1852.
A logging railroad first reached Elba on March 20, 1892, with the first permanent rail line arriving in October 1898. The "Dorsey Trailer Company" was constructed at the end of this railroad line, and this company manufactured the highway trailers that served on railroads and highways starting with the piggyback railroad or containerized cargo boom of the second half of the 20th century. The new railroad line ended in West Elba, where the "New Town" industrial section of the town was located. The Seaboard System Railroad ceased all railroad service to Elba, including freight service, on November 27, 1984.
Find the Right Interior Design School near Elba AL
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Elba AL.
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