How to Find the Best Interior Designer Course near Anniston Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Anniston AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? Many potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial 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 training alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Anniston AL can 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, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Anniston AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new profession in Anniston AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed 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 training in design after attaining 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 improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 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 some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Anniston AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working 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 many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges 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 reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire 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 structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Anniston AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Anniston AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Anniston AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Anniston AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Anniston AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Anniston AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Anniston home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Anniston AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Anniston Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Anniston Alabama.