How to Find an Interior Designer Degree Program near Fairfield Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Fairfield AL, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s vital that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference 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, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Fairfield AL can 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 can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to 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 principles, Fairfield AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career in Fairfield AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed 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 supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things 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 mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use 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 called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For anyone wishing’ to study in the convenience of their Fairfield AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Fairfield AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s imperative to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Fairfield AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Fairfield AL college you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Fairfield AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Fairfield AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Fairfield AL colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Fairfield home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Fairfield AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Fairfield AL?
Fairfield is a city in western Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Birmingham metropolitan area and is located southeast of Pleasant Grove. The population was 11,117 at the 2010 census.
This city was founded in 1910 in which the featured speaker at the dedication ceremony was former President Theodore Roosevelt. It was originally named Corey, after an executive of U.S. Steel Corporation. The name was later changed to the city in which the President of U.S. Steel lived, Fairfield, Connecticut. It was planned as a model city by the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company to house workers in their new Fairfield Works plant, now owned by U.S. Steel, similar to its northeastern city of Ensley.
As of the census of 2000, there were 12,381 people, 4,600 households, and 3,141 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,503.8 people per square mile (1,354.2/km²). There were 4,960 housing units at an average density of 1,403.7 per square mile (542.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 8.90% White, 90.23% Black or African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 0.48% from two or more races. 0.59% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Pick the Best Interior Design School near Fairfield AL
Picking the ideal interior design program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to recieve a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fairfield AL.
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