Interior Designer Program
How to Find the Best One Near Gardendale Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Gardendale AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since interior designers must be licensed in several states, the college you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's crucial you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Many prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. There are many other considerations that you should evaluate when analyzing schools, for example accreditation and reputation. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 available.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN CAREER BELOW!
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business 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 educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Gardendale AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Gardendale AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Gardendale AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure 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 some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree 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 acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices 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. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally 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 several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Courses
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Gardendale AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Gardendale AL residence. Naturally 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 expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Gardendale AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require 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 several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Gardendale AL program you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination 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 attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at 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 highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Gardendale AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Gardendale AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Gardendale AL colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Gardendale home, go to the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Gardendale AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Gardendale Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior design school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. It is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Gardendale Alabama.