How to Find the Right Interior Design Program near Jefferson Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Jefferson AL, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s vital that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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.
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Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Jefferson AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently 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, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Jefferson AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new profession in Jefferson AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets 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 provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Jefferson AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying 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 home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Jefferson AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It’s imperative to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose 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 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Jefferson AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep 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) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Jefferson AL college you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Jefferson AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Jefferson AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Jefferson AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Jefferson home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Jefferson AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
College Interior Design Programs Jefferson AL
Picking the right interior designer program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many factors to think about before selecting 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 College Interior Design Programs and wanted more info on the topic Interior Design Classes. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Jefferson AL.
Other Alabama Designer Locations
Al Ricardo Jefferson (born January 4, 1985) is an American former professional basketball player. He played high school basketball for Prentiss High School in Mississippi before skipping college to enter the 2004 NBA draft, where he was drafted 15th overall by the Boston Celtics. He has previously played for the Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz, Charlotte Hornets and Indiana Pacers.
Born in Monticello, Mississippi, Jefferson attended Prentiss High School in the small nearby town of Prentiss from 2000 to 2004. After starting for his varsity team as a freshman at Prentiss, he became one of the elite players in the country as a junior, drawing the attention of both college coaches around the country, and the scouts of the NBA. In his senior year for the Bulldogs, he averaged an astounding 42.6 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocks per game as his Bulldogs team went on to lose in the Mississippi state class 3A semi-finals to Byhalia High School 88-73, in which Jefferson finished with 56 points.
Considered a five-star recruit by Rivals.com, Jefferson was listed as the No. 1 center and the No. 4 player in the nation in 2004. He had originally committed to Arkansas, but opted instead to make the jump to the NBA straight out of high school.
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