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How to Find the Right Interior Design College Ashville Alabama

Ashville Alabama elegant interior designed spacious bathroomNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Ashville AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities 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 exam as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Ashville AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Ashville AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.

Interior Designer Degree Options

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There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new career in Ashville AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations 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 approximately two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

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

Interior Design Online Colleges

For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Ashville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

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When you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Ashville AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training 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 Ashville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Ashville AL school you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Ashville AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Ashville AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Ashville AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Ashville home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Ashville AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Online Ashville Interior Design Programs

Find the Ideal Ashville Interior Design Program

Choosing the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ashville AL.