Home >> Alabama >> Gadsden >> Interior Design Degrees


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Gadsden AL

How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Gadsden AL, it's time to start 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 proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Many prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means 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 looking at 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 available.

Start Your Interior Design Career By Requesting Free Info on Local Schools Below

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Gadsden AL

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general 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 and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Gadsden 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 a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Gadsden Alabama interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new career in Gadsden AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals 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 mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Gadsden Alabama interior designer bathroomOnce 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, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Gadsden AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous 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 recognized 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 assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Gadsden Alabama employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Gadsden AL school you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Gadsden AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Gadsden AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Gadsden AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Gadsden home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Gadsden AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Design College near Gadsden Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Gadsden AlabamaSelecting the ideal interior design school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Gadsden Alabama.