Top Online Interior Design Schools Gardendale AL

How to Find the Right Interior Designer College Gardendale 35071

interior designed Gardendale AL family roomNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Gardendale 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 spaces, it’s essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Some potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

commercial interior designed Gardendale AL conference roomMany people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Gardendale AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room 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 working on public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Gardendale AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.

Interior Designer Training Programs

interior designed kitchen in Gardendale ALThere are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new profession in Gardendale AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master’s Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many 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 programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Designer Schools

woman attending interior design school online in Gardendale ALFor students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Gardendale AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer 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 additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Questions to ask Gardendale AL interior design coursesAfter you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Gardendale AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Gardendale AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Gardendale AL program you select should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Gardendale AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Gardendale AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Gardendale AL schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Gardendale home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Gardendale AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enrolling in an Interior Design School near Gardendale AL?

Perhaps you are considering attending an interior design degree program in the Gardendale Alabama area.  If so, you may find the following information about the location of your new school campus interesting and informative.

Gardendale, Alabama

A large farm settlement near the area today known as Gardendale was settled around 1825. Some years later, other settlers began to move into the community commonly known as Jugtown, a name given to the area based on the presence of a large jug and churn factory that operated in the area. Some years later, Hettie Thomason Cargo, a school teacher, would lead a campaign to change the name of the community. In 1906, the name Gardendale was selected, and in 1955, the City of Gardendale was officially incorporated. Today, with more than 13,000 residents (estimated), the city of Gardendale has grown to include more than 400 businesses, 4 schools, and 24 churches.[5]

In 1996, the Olympic torch run passed through the city during the weeks leading up to the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. Before Interstate 65 was constructed, the main route between Nashville, Tennessee and Birmingham, Alabama was U.S. Route 31. Prior to being built as a four-lane road, U.S. 31 was a twisting two-lane road that is still largely visible today. From the north end of Gardendale, it is now Snow Rogers Road, North Road, Moncrief Road, and then Main Street southward through the city to the Fultondale city limit where it becomes Stouts Road. In the fall of 2008, new signs were placed along the original route of Stouts Road through Gardendale denoting its historical significance as a stagecoach route between Tennessee and Birmingham during the 19th century. The first traffic signals in the city were located along U.S. 31 at Tarrant Road, Fieldstown Road, and Moncrief Road as well as Tarrant Road at Pineywood Road. A new signal at the intersection of Fieldstown Road and Main Street near city hall replaced a blinking signal shortly thereafter. Fieldstown Road was a narrow two lane road from U.S. 31 westward until Interstate 65 was built and then Fieldstown Road was re-routed onto the new road in the mid-1980s. An abundance of traffic signals have been erected in the city since those early days. In approximately 1970, the city installed street lights along U.S. 31 from the Fultondale city limits northward to the Moncrief Road intersection. The technology at that time was for blue vapor lights. Today, nearly 40 years later those same blue vapor lights still exist with some being replaced with the more modern bulbs near major intersections. Since 1980, Gardendale has annexed considerable amounts of land on the north, east, and west sides. Much of the eastern area is uninhabited. The western annexation is centered along Fieldstown Road. Most of the newest residential development has been in this area and along Shady Grove Road south of Fieldstown Road. The northern annexation has centered along US 31 and extends nearly 2 miles (3.2 km) farther north than 1980. The city has a working historical society, established January 23, 2006, that is working to record the history of the Gardendale area. They have a museum that is open to the public on Saturday mornings each week. It contains a variety of photographs, documents, and other historical memorabilia from Gardendale.[citation needed]

Gardendale is located at 33°39′36″N 86°48′46″W / 33.66000°N 86.81278°W / 33.66000; -86.81278 (33.6601033, -86.8127702).[1] According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.0 square miles (47 km2), all land. However, with the recent annexation of several thousand acres from the community of Mt. Olive and other unincorporated areas, the city now has an estimated total area of around 25.0 square miles (65 km2). Gardendale is situated along one of the three major transportation corridors from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast (I-75, I-65, I-55). A tremendous volume of freight (via rail and truck) passes through or near Gardendale.

Enroll in the Ideal Interior Design School near Gardendale AL

Gardendale AL interior designed bathroomChoosing the ideal interior design college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. You originally came upon this website because you had an initial interest in Top Online Interior Design Schools. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Gardendale AL.

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