How to Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Clay Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Clay AL, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s important that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Some future students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Clay AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate 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 banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Clay AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to start your new career in Clay AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives 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, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that furnish 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 position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Clay AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire 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.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Clay 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 qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s necessary to verify that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, 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 Clay AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep 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 some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Clay AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Clay AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Clay AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Clay AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Clay home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches 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 hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Clay AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Schools For Interior Design Clay AL
Picking the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Schools For Interior Design and wanted more info on the topic Online Degree In Interior Design. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Clay AL.
Other Alabama Designer Locations
Clay is a city in northeastern Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Birmingham–Hoover–Cullman Combined Statistical Area in the north-central part of the state. Local government is run by a mayor and city council.
Before incorporation on June 6, 2000, it was a census-designated place (CDP). The population nearly doubled in the next decade, reaching 9,708 at the 2010 census, as it has attracted commuters to jobs in the urban areas.
The oldest church in Jefferson County, Mount Calvary Presbyterian Church, is located in Clay. The congregation has been meeting continually since 1806, when it was established by early Scots-American settlers.
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