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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near East Florence AL

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Course

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near East Florence AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the right 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 exam also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in East Florence AL

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in East Florence AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces 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 must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, East Florence Alabama interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new career in East Florence AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer 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. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

East Florence Alabama interior designer bathroomWhen you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your East Florence AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. 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 assessment of their teachers 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 college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of East Florence Alabama employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require 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 mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the East Florence AL school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of East Florence AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the East Florence AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the East Florence AL schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your East Florence home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near East Florence AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Designer School near East Florence Alabama

interior designed kitchen in East Florence AlabamaPicking the right interior designer school is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in East Florence Alabama.