How to Pick the Best Interior Designer Course near Elkmont Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Elkmont AL, it’s time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s important that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s crucial that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? Some future students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Elkmont AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Elkmont AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to start your new career in Elkmont AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions 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 technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For students who to study in the convenience of their Elkmont AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Elkmont AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s imperative to confirm that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Elkmont AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Elkmont AL school you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Elkmont AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Elkmont AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Elkmont AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Elkmont home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Elkmont AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Online Interior Design Certificate Programs Elkmont AL
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Online Interior Design Certificate Programs and wanted more info on the topic Top Rated Interior Design Schools. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Elkmont AL.
Other Alabama Designer Locations
Elkmont is a town in Limestone County, Alabama, United States, and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the town was 434, down from its record high of 470 in 2000.
Elkmont began as a stop known as "Fort Hampton" along the newly-constructed Tennessee and Alabama Central Railroad in 1859. The name was changed to "Elkmont," after the elk that once flourished in the area, in 1866. The Tennessee and Alabama Central eventually became part of the L&N Railroad system, which built the current depot (now used as a community center) in 1887. The railroad tracks have since been removed, and are now part of the Richard Martin Trail. Elkmont incorporated in 1873.
Elkmont is located at 34°55′49″N 86°58′38″W / 34.93028°N 86.97722°W / 34.93028; -86.97722 (34.930155, -86.977086). The town is concentrated around the intersection of County Road 49 (Upper Fort Hampton Road) and the old railroad line (now the Richard Martin Trail), several miles north of Athens, and a few miles south of the Alabama-Tennessee state line. Interstate 65 passes to the east of Elkmont, and the Elk River passes to the west. State Route 127 runs along a portion of Elkmont's western municipal boundary.
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