How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Degree Program near Ashville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Ashville AL, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s important that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Ashville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. 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 kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Ashville AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Ashville AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated 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 accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialty 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. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire 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 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 professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Ashville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Ashville AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Ashville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Ashville AL college you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Ashville AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Ashville AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Ashville AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Ashville home, visit the campus 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 styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Ashville AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Interior Design Top Schools Ashville AL
Picking the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Interior Design Top Schools and wanted more info on the topic Colleges With Interior Design. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ashville AL.
Other Alabama Designer Locations
Ashville is a city in St. Clair County, Alabama, United States. Its population was 2,212 at the 2010 census, down from 2,260, at which time it was a town. Ashville is the county seat of St. Clair County along with Pell City. It incorporated in 1822.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen climate classification system, Ashville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. 
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,260 people, 814 households, and 608 families residing in the town. The population density was 116.9 people per square mile (45.1/km2). There were 905 housing units at an average density of 46.8 per square mile (18.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 69.42% White, 26.55% Black or African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.31% Pacific Islander, 1.81% from other races, and 1.55% from two or more races. 2.88% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
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