How to Select the Right Interior Design College Athens 35611
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Athens AL, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s essential that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since several 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 proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But where do you start? Many prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other crucial 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 options are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Athens AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, 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 primary consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Athens AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new career in Athens AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices 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 the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally 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 schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Athens AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient 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. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Athens AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s imperative to verify that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional 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 an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Athens AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Athens AL college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Athens AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Athens AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Athens AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Athens home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Athens AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enrolling in an Interior Design School near Athens AL?
Perhaps you are considering attending an interior design degree program in the Athens Alabama area. If so, you may find the following information about the location of your new school campus interesting and informative.
Athens is a city in Limestone County, in the State of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 21,897. The city is the county seat of Limestone County and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area.
Founded in 1818 by John Coffee, Robert Beaty, John D. Carroll, and John Read, Athens is one of the oldest incorporated cities in the State of Alabama, having been incorporated one year prior to the state's admittance to the Union in 1819. Limestone County was also created by an act of the Alabama Territorial Legislature in 1818. The town was first called Athenson, but was incorporated as Athens after the ancient city in Greece. The town's first mayor was Samuel Tanner, and the Tanner area, south of Athens, was named on his behalf.
The Athens area was the home of William Wyatt Bibb, the first Governor of Alabama, and its second Governor, his brother Thomas Bibb, who succeeded him in office when he died in a fall from his horse.
Select the Right Interior Design School near Athens AL
Choosing the right interior design school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. You originally came upon this website because you had an initial interest in How To Be An Interior Designer. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Athens AL.
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