How to Pick the Right Interior Design School near Columbia Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Columbia AL, it’s time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill 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 Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Columbia AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Columbia AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new career in Columbia AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For anyone wishing’ to attend classes in the convenience of their Columbia AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting 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 be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Columbia AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s essential to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Columbia AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become 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 work experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Columbia AL college you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Columbia AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Columbia AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Columbia AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Columbia home, visit the school and attend 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 approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Columbia AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Best Schools For Interior Design Columbia AL
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Best Schools For Interior Design and wanted more info on the topic Interior Design Schools Online Degree. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Columbia AL.
Other Alabama Designer Locations
At the age of 18 Columbia was hired to assist Bill Sienkiewicz in illustrating Alan Moore's ambitious Big Numbers series. When Sienkiewicz withdrew from the series in 1990 after the release of the first two issues, Moore and his backers at Tundra Publishing asked the young Columbia to become its sole artist. In 1992, with no more issues released, Columbia himself left the project under a cloud of rumors and accusations, including claims that he had destroyed his own artwork for Big Numbers #4. Columbia declined to address the subject publicly for several years, writing in a 1998 letter to The Comics Journal that "I could easily launch into a tirade about the extensive horror of my Tundra experience, but I much prefer the very entertaining and conflicting accounts already in circulation." In later statements he confirmed that he destroyed his artwork but disputed other claims by the principal figures in the fiasco.
In a 2011 article reflecting on his Big Numbers experience, Sienkiewicz wrote that he and Columbia had long since reconciled over the matter, and that he was content to "[c]halk the feud up to the folly of youth."
Columbia's first solo comic book, Doghead, was released by Tundra Publishing in 1992. It contains three short stories, two in black and white and one in full color. Paul Gravett described it as "three dark, stylish tales, indebted to Sienkiewicz and McKean but with hints of [Columbia's] emerging singular identity".
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