How to Select the Best Interior Designer College near Saraland Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Saraland AL, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s important that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 choices are offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person 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 necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Saraland AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Saraland AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Saraland AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure 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 provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate 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 Design Online Schools
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Saraland AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great option 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 programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Saraland AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s imperative to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous 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 excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Saraland AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Saraland AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need 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 a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Saraland AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Saraland AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school 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 personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Saraland AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Saraland home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Saraland 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 as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Online Interior Design Certificate Programs Saraland AL
Choosing the right interior designer college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college 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 imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Saraland AL.
Other Alabama Designer Locations
Saraland is a city in Mobile County, Alabama, United States, and a suburb of Mobile. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 13,405. It is a part of the Mobile metropolitan area. Saraland is the third largest city in Mobile County.
The land area that was to become the present-day Saraland, was included in a Spanish land grant to Don Diego Alvarez. Hence, descendants of Alvarez were the ones to give the community its first name: Alvarez Station. Later land squatters moved into the area and were able, legally, in 1800 to begin purchasing property. In 1807, a land office was opened in St. Stephens to handle all land transactions. Some of the pioneer families who seized the opportunity to buy up sections were named Alvarez, Rice, Hartley, Moore, LaCoste, Williams, Tool and Cleveland. Ultimately, Alvarez Station was called Cleveland Station. The present name of the city is reported to have been given by C.J. DeWitt, a retired minister editor who moved south in 1890 for health reasons. He opened the first post office on the Southern Railroad in 1895. The community is purported to be the namesake of his beloved wife, Sara.
Saraland was sparsely populated during the first part of the 20th century, until an industrial and population boom occurred in neighboring Mobile. Northward expansion of Mobile in the 1940s and 50s brought about the incorporation of Saraland in 1957. At the time of incorporation, the city reported only 125 residents. By the 1960 U.S. Census, annexations had swelled the population to 4,595. In 1980, census figures cited 9,844 Saraland residents. Current census records report that as of 2017, Saraland's population is estimated to have grown to 14,576.
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