How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Talladega Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Talladega AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? Many prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Talladega AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Talladega AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Talladega AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Talladega AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Talladega AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 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 Talladega AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Talladega AL program you choose should also provide 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Talladega AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Talladega AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Talladega AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Talladega home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer program you enroll in provides 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 at night or on weekends near Talladega AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Best Talladega Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Talladega Alabama.