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How to Select the Right Interior Designer Program near Glencoe Alabama

Glencoe Alabama interior designed living room with entertainment centerNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Glencoe AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? Many future students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference 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. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Glencoe AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Glencoe AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.

Interior Design Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new profession in Glencoe AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components 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 position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Glencoe AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. 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 programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

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Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Glencoe AL residence. Obviously 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 cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Glencoe AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Glencoe AL program you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Glencoe AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Glencoe AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Glencoe AL schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Glencoe home, go to the school and attend a couple of 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 backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Glencoe AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Glencoe Interior Design Courses

Choose in the Best Glencoe Interior Design School

Selecting the right interior design college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Glencoe Alabama.