How to Pick the Right Interior Design Program near Talladega Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Talladega AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of 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 spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Talladega AL may 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 can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Talladega AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new career in Talladega AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several 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. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential 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 training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally 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 degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Talladega AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working 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 a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain 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 environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Talladega AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. 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 college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Talladega AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready 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) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Talladega AL program you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer 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, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Talladega AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Talladega AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Talladega AL colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Talladega home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. 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 attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose in the Right Talladega Interior Design College
Picking the right interior design school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Talladega Alabama.