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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near East Florence AL

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near East Florence 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 spaces, it's essential that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in East Florence AL

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in East Florence AL may specialize in:

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

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, East Florence Alabama interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in East Florence AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly 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 creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Online Interior Design Schools

East Florence AL student attending interior design school onlineFor individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their East Florence AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

When you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your East Florence AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of East Florence Alabama employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become 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 college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the East Florence AL college you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam 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? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of East Florence AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the East Florence AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. 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 cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the East Florence AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your East Florence home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to 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 available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near East Florence Alabama

interior designed kitchen in East Florence AlabamaChoosing the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in East Florence Alabama.