How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Course near Talladega Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Talladega AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates 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 living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas 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 area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces 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 numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Talladega AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Talladega AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make 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 addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain 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 for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Talladega AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added 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 college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Talladega AL residence. 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 qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the least expensive 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 consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national 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 gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered 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 Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides providing an excellent education, the Talladega AL school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Talladega AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Talladega AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Talladega AL colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Talladega home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic 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 Talladega AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Talladega Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior designer college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Talladega Alabama.