Interior Designer School
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Gadsden Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Gadsden AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And because interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the school you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each program you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate due diligence. But exactly where do you start? When looking for interior design programs, the majority of students begin by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. However, a school is not always the right choice just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are various other qualifications that you should weigh when analyzing schools, for example accreditation and reputation. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 offered.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Gadsden AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Gadsden AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new career in Gadsden AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade 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 provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt 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 required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Courses
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Gadsden AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a respected 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Gadsden AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Gadsden AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate 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 some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Gadsden AL program you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Gadsden AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Gadsden AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Gadsden AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Gadsden home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Gadsden AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Gadsden Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Gadsden Alabama.