How to Choose the Right Interior Design Degree Program Fultondale 35068
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Fultondale AL, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s essential that you receive the proper training to put your skills 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 examination as well. So it’s vital that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught 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 broad areas that an interior designer in Fultondale AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Fultondale AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new career in Fultondale AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job 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 alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Fultondale AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed 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 schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you select is accredited by a respected 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 distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Fultondale AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It’s necessary to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Fultondale AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Fultondale AL school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Fultondale AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Fultondale AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Fultondale AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Fultondale home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fultondale AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enrolling in an Interior Design School near Fultondale AL?
Perhaps you are considering attending an interior design degree program in the Fultondale Alabama area. If so, you may find the following information about the location of your new school campus interesting and informative.
This area was once known as Fulton Springs. Prior to the building of Interstate 65, US 31 was the main route for travelers northbound from Birmingham towards Nashville, Tennessee. As a result, hotels such as the Keystone Lodge and Buchmann Motor Inn prospered. On the city's southern edge was located one of the few drive-in theatres in the Birmingham area (the "Skyview"). This was torn down when I-65 was built in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Pine Bowl bowling alley is still a long time fixture in the city.Traces of the old routing of US 31 are still noticeable in the city. From just south of the city hall to an old bridge on this city's northern side, most of this old routing is known as Stouts Road or in some cases simply "old US 31."
Fultondale was a relatively stagnant community until the last decade. Growth has occurred in residential areas mainly west of Interstate 65, while retail development has focused along and near the I-65/Walkers Chapel Road exit.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.2 square miles (32 km2), all land. Fultondale is located along one of the many ridgelines that comprise the southern end of the Appalachian Mountain chain. The area has been thoroughly mined for coal and other minerals in the past 100 years. The city is served by two major north/south highways, Interstate 65 and US Highway 31. The new Interstate 22 encroaches on the city's western edge and on June 20, 2016, the interchange with I-65 just south of Fultondale opened. I-22 will provide direct interstate access to Memphis, Tennessee. Upon completion of Interstate 22, Fultondale will become the fourth Alabama city (after Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile) to be directly served by more than one two-digit interstate highway (I-65 & I-22). The only east/west thoroughfare of note is Walkers Chapel Road (west of US 31) and New Castle Road (east of US 31). Rail lines run north/south along the city's eastern edge from Boyles Yard in Tarrant to points north and east. Air travel is available from nearby Birmingham International Airport.
Select the Ideal Interior Design School near Fultondale AL
Picking the ideal interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. You originally came upon this website because you had an initial interest in What Colleges Offer Interior Design. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fultondale AL.
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