How to Select the Right Interior Design Course near Talladega Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Talladega AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Talladega AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Talladega AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Talladega AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs 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 business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options 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. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire 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.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to study in the comfort of their Talladega AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication 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.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Talladega AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose has been accredited by 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 undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Talladega AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Talladega AL college you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at 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 highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Talladega AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Talladega AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Talladega AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Talladega home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Talladega AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Talladega Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Talladega Alabama.