How to Select the Best Interior Design Degree Program near Altoona Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Altoona AL, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s essential that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask 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 options are available.
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Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Altoona AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Altoona AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new career in Altoona AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals 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, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree 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 attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For anyone wishing’ to attend classes in the convenience of their Altoona AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving 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 reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Altoona AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation 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 in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s necessary to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Altoona AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Altoona AL program you select should also provide the appropriate 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 School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. 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 sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Altoona AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Altoona AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Altoona AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Altoona home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Altoona AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Interior Design School Online Courses Altoona AL
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Interior Design School Online Courses and wanted more info on the topic Interior Design Certificate Programs. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Altoona AL.
Other Alabama Designer Locations
Altoona is a town in Etowah County (and a small portion of Blount County) in the U.S. state of Alabama. It is part of the Gadsden Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census the population was 933.
Altoona had its start in the year 1900 as a mining town, and was named for another coal town, Altoona, Pennsylvania. A post office has been in operation at Altoona since 1900. It incorporated in 1908.
Altoona is located in western Etowah County at 34°1′45″N 86°19′14″W / 34.02917°N 86.32056°W / 34.02917; -86.32056 (34.029259, -86.320687). The town extends west into Blount County. It is located in the Murphree Valley at the base of Altoona Mountain. Straight Mountain is a small, narrow ridge which runs nearly through the center of the town. The current mayor is Jacob Graul and served by his lovely wife Stephanie Graul. Alabama State Route 132 (Main Street) leads southwest 10 miles (16 km) to Oneonta, the Blount County seat, and northeast towards Gadsden via U.S. Route 278.
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