How to Select the Right Interior Designer Degree Program near Talladega Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Talladega 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 interiors, it's important that you get 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 could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But just where do you start? A number of future students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many 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 some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Talladega AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various 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 choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Talladega AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Talladega AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices 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 mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Talladega AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a great 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 a number of students online schools may be the sole 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. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized 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 online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Talladega AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Talladega AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Talladega AL school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Talladega AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Talladega AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Talladega AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Talladega home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you enroll in provides 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 in the evening or on weekends near Talladega AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose in the Best Talladega Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior design college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate 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 accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Talladega Alabama.