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How to Find the Right Interior Designer Course near Glencoe Alabama

Glencoe Alabama interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Glencoe AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? Many future students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work 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 numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Glencoe AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Glencoe AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.

Interior Design Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new profession in Glencoe AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Glencoe AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

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Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Glencoe AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer school 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college 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 exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Glencoe AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Glencoe AL program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction 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 College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance 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 an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Glencoe AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Glencoe AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Glencoe AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Glencoe home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Glencoe AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Glencoe Interior Design Schools

Choose in the Right Glencoe Interior Design College

Selecting the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Glencoe Alabama.