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How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School Clio Alabama

Clio Alabama elegant interior designed bathroomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Clio AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the proper 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 could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking 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 and Interior Design

modern Clio Alabama interior designed corporate conference room

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Clio AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, 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 appearance as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Clio AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.

Interior Designer Training Programs

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new career in Clio AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain 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 some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt 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 called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Designer Colleges

For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Clio AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized 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 online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Clio AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding 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 training are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Clio AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several 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 some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Clio AL program you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Clio AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Clio AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Clio AL colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Clio home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Clio AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Top Clio Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Ideal Clio Interior Design Program

Selecting the ideal interior designer school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But 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 evaluate 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 accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Clio AL.