Interior Designer Program
How to Pick the Best One Near Gardendale Alabama
So it’s time to begin the process of choosing an interior design school near Gardendale AL once you have made a career choice to study to be an interior designer. It's important that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since interior designers must be licensed in several states, the school you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing test and provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's very important you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN CAREER BELOW!
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Gardendale AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Gardendale AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new profession in Gardendale AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure 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 a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits 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 field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Gardendale AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting 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 decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Gardendale AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Gardendale AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Gardendale AL program you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Gardendale AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Gardendale AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Gardendale AL schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Gardendale home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Gardendale AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find Out More About Becoming an Interior Designer in Gardendale
Choose the Best Gardendale Interior Design School
Picking the right interior design school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions 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 superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Gardendale Alabama.
Gardendale Interior Design Programs | Gardendale Interior Design Courses