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How to Find the Best Interior Design Course near Anniston Alabama

Anniston Alabama interior designed living roomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Anniston AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Some prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Anniston AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Anniston AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.

Interior Design Degree Programs

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new profession in Anniston AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely 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 three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Anniston AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs

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When you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Anniston AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by 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 a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Anniston AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Anniston AL school you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Anniston AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Anniston AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Anniston AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Anniston home, go to the school 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 approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Anniston AL, make certain 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 protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Degrees

Enroll in the Best Anniston Interior Design School

Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Anniston Alabama.