How to Find the Best Interior Design College near Gulf Shores Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Gulf Shores AL, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s imperative that you obtain 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 preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s vital that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 alternatives are available.
Start Your Interior Design Career By Requesting Free Info on Local Schools Below
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone 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 numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Gulf Shores AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Gulf Shores AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Gulf Shores AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure 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 a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer 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 mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five 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 several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Classes
For anyone wishing’ to study in the comfort of their Gulf Shores AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative 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 decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Gulf Shores AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s important to verify that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 verify 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 available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Gulf Shores AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Gulf Shores AL school you choose should also provide the proper training 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Gulf Shores AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Gulf Shores AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer 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 may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Gulf Shores AL colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Gulf Shores home, go to the college and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Gulf Shores AL, confirm 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 process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Best Online Interior Design Programs Gulf Shores AL
Selecting the right interior designer school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. 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 Best Online Interior Design Programs and wanted more info on the topic Interior Design Diploma Online. But it is still imperative 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 ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Gulf Shores AL.
Other Alabama Designer Locations
Gulf Shores, Alabama
Gulf Shores is located on the Gulf of Mexico at 30°16'4.069" North, 87°42'5.285" West (30.267797, −87.701468). It is the southernmost settlement in the state of Alabama. It is served by Alabama State Route 59 (Gulf Shores Parkway), which leads north to Foley. Route 182 (Beach Boulevard) runs east-west along the shore front, while Route 180 (Fort Morgan Road) runs parallel to it, north of Little Lagoon. Gulf State Park occupies a large eastern part of the city.
Gulf Shores is located 33 miles (53 km) west of Pensacola, Florida, 54 miles (87 km) south of Mobile, 197 miles (317 km) east of New Orleans, 194 miles (312 km) south of Montgomery, and 55 miles (89 km) west of Navarre, Florida.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.0 square miles (72.5 km2), of which 23.2 square miles (60.0 km2) is land and 4.8 square miles (12.5 km2), or 17.24%, is water.
Business Results 1 - 10 of 15