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How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Course Clio Alabama

Clio Alabama elegant interior designed bathroomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Clio AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking 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 class alternatives are available.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Clio AL can 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, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Clio AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new profession in Clio AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at many 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 supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things 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. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt 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 professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Designer Degree Programs

For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Clio AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Clio AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded 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 teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Clio AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Clio AL school you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Clio AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Clio AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Clio AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Clio home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Clio AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Accredited Clio Interior Design Programs

Find the Right Clio Interior Design Program

Selecting the ideal interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Clio AL.