How to Pick the Best Interior Designer School near Talladega Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Talladega AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other important 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 class alternatives are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Talladega AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Talladega AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Talladega AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Talladega AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain 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 distance or online 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 right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Talladega AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Talladega AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College 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 as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Talladega AL school you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Talladega AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Talladega AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Talladega AL colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Talladega home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few 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, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Talladega AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose in the Best Talladega Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior designer school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. 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 programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Talladega Alabama.