How to Select an Interior Design Course Gardendale 35071
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Gardendale AL, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s essential that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s crucial that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by searching for colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask 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 offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business in Gardendale AL as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes in Alabama. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a Gardendale designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in Gardendale in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs in Gardendale as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position in Alabama as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs 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 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Gardendale homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges 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 traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Gardendale home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s important to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Gardendale employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some states do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those states requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the program you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 assistance in finding your first job in Gardendale. 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 high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer in 35071. Many of Alabama interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Gardendale home, go to the campus 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 styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Gardendale, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Interior Designer Certification Training Gardendale ALChoosing the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer.