How to Pick the Right Interior Design School near Alexander City Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Alexander City AL, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s essential that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s essential that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Alexander City AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Alexander City AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new career in Alexander City AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take 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 brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential 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 attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide alternatives 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 degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically 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 degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For anyone wishing’ to study in the convenience of their Alexander City AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent option 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 many students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Alexander City AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s imperative to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Alexander City AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get 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 mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Alexander City AL college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination 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 design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Alexander City AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Alexander City AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Alexander City AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Alexander City home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Alexander City AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Online Interior Design Diploma Alexander City AL
Choosing the right interior designer program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Online Interior Design Diploma and wanted more info on the topic Interior Design Online Degree. However 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 properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Alexander City AL.
Other Alabama Designer Locations
Alexander City, Alabama
Alexander City, known to locals as "Alex City", is a city in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, United States, with a population of some 14,875. It has been the largest community in Tallapoosa County since 1910. It is known for Lake Martin with its 750 miles (1,210 km) of wooded shoreline and 44,000 acres (18,000 ha) of water. Lake Martin stands on the Tallapoosa River and offers boating, swimming, fishing, golfing, and camping. Many neighborhoods and luxury homes are located on the lake.
Alexander City was incorporated in 1872 as Youngsville, after its founder James Young. In 1873, the Savannah and Memphis Railroad came to the city. The city was renamed in honor of the railroad's President Edward Porter Alexander, hero of the Battle of Gettysburg for the Confederate States.
On June 13, 1902, at 1 pm, a fire broke out in the Alexander City Machine shop and destroyed much of the town. At the time, Alexander City did not have a water system and all buildings, including the telegraph office, post office and three banks were burned.
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