How to Pick the Right Interior Designer School near Aliceville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Aliceville AL, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s essential that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s vital that you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Aliceville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Aliceville AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Aliceville AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of 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 furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For anyone wishing’ to study in the comfort of their Aliceville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Aliceville AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s important to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. 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 undergone a demanding evaluation 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 college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Aliceville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Aliceville AL school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help 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 profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Aliceville AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Aliceville AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively 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 larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Aliceville AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Aliceville home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Aliceville AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Undergraduate Interior Design Programs Aliceville AL
Choosing the ideal interior design college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Undergraduate Interior Design Programs and wanted more info on the topic Interior Design Certificate. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Aliceville AL.
Other Alabama Designer Locations
Aliceville is a city in Pickens County, Alabama, located thirty-six miles west of Tuscaloosa. At the 2010 census its population was 2,486, down from 2,567 in 2000. Founded in the first decade of the 20th century and incorporated in 1907, the town has become notable for its World War II-era prisoner-of-war camp, Camp Aliceville. Since 1930, it has been the largest town in Pickens County. On February 2, 2016, the town was hit by an EF2 tornado, causing heavy damage in the area.
In 1902 the settlement that would become Aliceville was founded with the opening of a single store. The town was named in honor of the wife of John T. Cochrane, founder of the Alabama, Tennessee and Northern Railroad and moving force behind the construction of the short line from Carrollton, Alabama to Aliceville. Within two years of the completion of the short line, Aliceville had grown to what the Montgomery Advertiser called in 1905 "a town of considerable pretensions. There are about a dozen stores, a bank, public buildings and numerous enterprises."
In 1907 an election was scheduled to allow the citizens of Aliceville to decide whether their town should be incorporated. Incorporation was approved by the town's voters, and on March 19, 1907, a municipal election was held to choose town officers, including a mayor and five aldermen: T.H. Sommerville, J.M. Summerville, A. Hood, J.D. Sanders, W.E. Stringfellow, and J.B. Cunningham, respectively.
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