How to Pick the Best Interior Design College near Fultondale Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Fultondale AL, it’s time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s essential that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Fultondale AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Fultondale AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new career in Fultondale AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student 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 attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Fultondale AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to 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 colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized 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 education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Fultondale AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s imperative to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Fultondale AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate 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 requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Fultondale AL school you enroll in should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher 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 sought after. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Fultondale AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Fultondale AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Fultondale AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Fultondale home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Fultondale AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Education Interior Design Fultondale AL
Picking the right interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Education Interior Design and wanted more info on the topic Schools With Interior Design. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fultondale AL.
Other Alabama Designer Locations
This area was once known as Fulton Springs. Prior to the building of Interstate 65, US 31 was the main route for travelers northbound from Birmingham towards Nashville, Tennessee. As a result, hotels such as the Keystone Lodge and Buchmann Motor Inn prospered. On the city's southern edge was located one of the few drive-in theatres in the Birmingham area (the "Skyview"). This was torn down when I-65 was built in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Pine Bowl bowling alley is still a long time fixture in the city.Traces of the old routing of US 31 are still noticeable in the city. From just south of the city hall to an old bridge on this city's northern side, most of this old routing is known as Stouts Road or in some cases simply "old US 31."
Fultondale was a relatively stagnant community until the last decade. Growth has occurred in residential areas mainly west of Interstate 65, while retail development has focused along and near the I-65/Walkers Chapel Road exit.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.2 square miles (32 km2), all land. Fultondale is located along one of the many ridgelines that comprise the southern end of the Appalachian Mountain chain. The area has been thoroughly mined for coal and other minerals in the past 100 years. The city is served by two major north/south highways, Interstate 65 and US Highway 31. The new Interstate 22 encroaches on the city's western edge and on June 20, 2016, the interchange with I-65 just south of Fultondale opened. I-22 will provide direct interstate access to Memphis, Tennessee. Upon completion of Interstate 22, Fultondale will become the fourth Alabama city (after Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile) to be directly served by more than one two-digit interstate highway (I-65 & I-22). The only east/west thoroughfare of note is Walkers Chapel Road (west of US 31) and New Castle Road (east of US 31). Rail lines run north/south along the city's eastern edge from Boyles Yard in Tarrant to points north and east. Air travel is available from nearby Birmingham International Airport.
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