How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Degree Program near Ashland Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Ashland 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 interiors, it’s imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s vital that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of 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 spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Ashland AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Ashland AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Ashland AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time 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 required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire 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 as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Ashland AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Ashland AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s important to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment 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 agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Ashland AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Ashland AL college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Ashland AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Ashland AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Ashland AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Ashland home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Ashland AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Interior Design Courses Open University Ashland AL
Picking the ideal interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Interior Design Courses Open University and wanted more info on the topic Interior Design Masters Degree. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ashland AL.
Other Alabama Designer Locations
Clay County was formed by an act of the Alabama General Assembly on December 7, 1866. Less than a year later, Ashland was established as the county seat on land donated by Hollingsworth Watts for the construction of a courthouse. Ashland was incorporated in 1871 and was named for 19th century statesman Henry Clay's Kentucky estate home.
During the early years, the town grew very rapidly. The town continued to grow with the opening of Alabama's first graphite mine in 1899. When World War I ended, the market for graphite dropped drastically, thus ending the town's growth phase.
The 1930s brought the Great Depression and boll weevil to Ashland that destroyed the cotton industry. Farmers were forced to abandon what had been the community's major industry. Timber, poultry, and cabinet making became the dominant industries by the beginning of the 21st century.
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