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How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Tillmans Corner Alabama

Tillmans Corner Alabama interior designed living room with entertainment centerNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Tillmans Corner AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final decision. But where do you begin? Some potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, 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 educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Tillmans Corner AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as 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 picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Tillmans Corner AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.

Interior Designer Degree Options

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There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to start your new profession in Tillmans Corner AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives 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 certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several 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 provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical 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 position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance 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 degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Tillmans Corner AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good option 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 practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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When you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Tillmans Corner AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Tillmans Corner AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Tillmans Corner AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, 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 in demand. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Tillmans Corner AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Tillmans Corner AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Tillmans Corner AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Tillmans Corner home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Tillmans Corner AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Learn More About Tillmans Corner Interior Design Schools

Enroll in the Best Tillmans Corner Interior Design College

Selecting the right interior design school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining 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 superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tillmans Corner Alabama.