How to Pick the Right Interior Design Degree Program near Carrollton Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Carrollton 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 important that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Many potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Carrollton AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including 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 choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Carrollton AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new profession in Carrollton AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly 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 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For anyone wishing’ to attend classes in the comfort of their Carrollton AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a good 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 practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools 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 study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Carrollton AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s important to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college 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 outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Carrollton AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Carrollton AL program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask 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 profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Carrollton AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Carrollton AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Carrollton AL colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Carrollton home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Carrollton AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Interior Design Colleges Carrollton AL
Picking the right interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Interior Design Colleges and wanted more info on the topic Interior Designer Program. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Carrollton AL.
Other Alabama Designer Locations
The Pickens County Courthouse in the center of Carrollton was erected in 1877. The first courthouse in Carrollton was burned on April 5, 1865 by troops of Union General John T. Croxton. A second courthouse was destroyed by a fire on November 16, 1876.
Incorporated in 1831, the town was named after Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Maryland, the only Roman Catholic and longest-living signer of the Declaration of Independence. A post office has been in operation at Carrollton since 1831.
As was typical, the county jail was located at the courthouse. The courthouse square was used frequently as a site for public lynchings by whites of African Americans, part of numerous efforts to suppress them during a time of high tensions as whites struggled for dominance. It was part of a program of intimidation and racial terrorism, with these murders frequent in the decades on either side of the turn of the 20th century. Among the numerous African Americans lynched in Carrollton was John Gibson, hanged on August 28, 1907. Pickens County had the fifth highest total of lynchings in Alabama, according to Lynching in America (2015, 3rd edition), published by the Equal Justice Initiative.