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Interior Designer School Near Me Columbiana AL

How to Choose the Right Interior Design College Columbiana 35051

interior designed Columbiana AL family roomNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Columbiana 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 imperative that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s very important that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? Some prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

commercial interior designed Columbiana AL conference roomOften people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education 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 spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Columbiana AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Columbiana AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.

Interior Designer Training Programs

interior designed kitchen in Columbiana ALThere are four degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Columbiana AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed 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 amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that furnish 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 lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

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

Online Interior Designer Classes

woman attending interior design school online in Columbiana ALFor those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Columbiana AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy 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 colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools

Questions to ask Columbiana AL interior design coursesAfter you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Columbiana AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s imperative to verify that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. 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 assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Columbiana AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs 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 as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Columbiana AL program you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination 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? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Columbiana AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Columbiana AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Columbiana AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Columbiana home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Columbiana AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enrolling in an Interior Design School near Columbiana AL?

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

Columbiana, Alabama

Columbiana, originally called Columbia, was selected as the county seat of Shelby County in 1826 over rivals Calera and Montevallo. After the selection as the county seat, Columbiana celebrated by drilling holes in a large pine tree and packing it with gunpowder. The tree was blown up and the sound could be heard for miles. Later in 1826, the courthouse was moved to an old school building in Columbiana.

An act of the Alabama Legislature officially changed the name of Shelby County's county seat to Columbiana on January 13, 1832. Columbiana was incorporated on December 5, 1837 with corporate limits one-quarter of a mile in each direction from the public square.

In 1854, the decision was made to build a larger courthouse at the south end of “Silk Stocking Road”, now Main Street. From 1854 to 1908 several additions and changes were made to the courthouse. During the American Civil War, Columbiana was connected to the nearby town of Shelby by the Shelby Iron Company Railroad, which connected the Shelby Iron Works to the Alabama and Tennessee River Railroad. The Iron Works supplied iron to the C.B. Churchill and Company foundry, which moved to Columbiana in 1862 after the fall of Corinth, Mississippi. The Churchill foundry made eight and ten pound shot, eight and ten pound shells, and shells for Blakely rifles.[4] The C.B. Churchill and Company foundry, Shelby Iron Works and the railroad were destroyed by Union forces on March 31, 1865, as part of Wilson's Raid.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Columbiana AL

Columbiana AL interior designed bathroomChoosing the ideal interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify 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 initial interest in Interior Designer School Near Me. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Columbiana AL.

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