How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Degree Program near Florence Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Florence AL, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s important that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s crucial that you perform the proper 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 start? Many prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask 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 choices are offered.
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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction 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 talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Florence AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, 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 main consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Florence AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new career in Florence AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to 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 sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Florence AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 learning. If you have the discipline 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.
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 assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Florence AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s essential to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Florence AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Florence AL college you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Florence AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Florence AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Florence AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Florence home, visit the school 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 philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Florence AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Good Interior Design Colleges Florence AL
Choosing the right interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Good Interior Design Colleges and wanted more info on the topic Schools With Good Interior Design Programs. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Florence AL.
Other Alabama Designer Locations
Florence is the largest and principal city of the Florence-Muscle Shoals Metropolitan Statistical Area (which includes Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia metropolitan areas in Colbert and Lauderdale counties). Florence is considered northwestern Alabama's primary economic hub.
Annual tourism events include the W. C. Handy Music Festival in the summer and the Renaissance Faire in the fall. Landmarks in Florence include the Rosenbaum House, the only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home located in Alabama.
Florence and Lauderdale County had one hospital, Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital. ECM was a 358-bed facility owned by RCCH HealthCare Partners in Brentwood, Tennessee. In 2010 RCCH HealthCare Partners announced that they would build a new hospital in Florence. The hospital was completed in December 2018.
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