How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program Helena 35080
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Helena AL, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask 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 training alternatives are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Helena AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Helena AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new profession in Helena AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialty 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 their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Classes
For students who to study in the comfort of their Helena AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you enroll in 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 education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Helena AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at 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 Degree Program Accredited? It’s important to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Helena AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Helena AL college you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. 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 high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Helena AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Helena AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Helena AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Helena home, go to the campus and sit in on 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 philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Helena AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in an Interior Design School near Helena AL?
Perhaps you are considering attending an interior design degree program in the Helena Alabama area. If so, you may find the following information about the location of your new school campus interesting and informative.
Helena (pronunciation hel-LE-nah) is a city in Jefferson and Shelby Counties in the state of Alabama. Helena is considered a suburb of Birmingham and part of the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Area. As of the 2010 census, the population was 16,793. Helena is highly regarded as a place to live and raise children; Business Week named Helena the 13th "Best Place to Raise Your Kids" in 2007. It has the eighth-lowest crime rate per population in the U.S., and the city was ranked in Money magazine's 2007 list of "Best Places to Live: Top 100" in the U.S., placing at number 91. The Alabama League of Municipalities awarded Helena the 2008 Municipal Achievement Award (population 10,001 to 20,000).
Helena initially incorporated in 1877, but reincorporated in 1917 after errors were discovered in the initial incorporation papers. It did not first appear on the U.S. Census until 1920, giving credence to the later date of incorporation.
The initial settlers to Helena, initially named Cove, were veterans of the final campaigns of the War of 1812. Members of Andrew Jackson's army who cut through the brush were attracted to the quiet, peaceful valleys and streams after the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. These first settlers were reported to arrive in 1849 and were predated by the Creek Indian tribes who these settlers had battled. By 1856, the Cove post office opened. Shortly thereafter, the settlers changed the name of the town to Hillsboro.
Pick the Ideal Interior Design School near Helena AL
Choosing the ideal interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. You originally came upon this website because you had an initial interest in Accredited Interior Design Courses. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Helena AL.
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