How to Pick the Best Interior Design Program near Tillmans Corner Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Tillmans Corner AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 alternatives are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Tillmans Corner AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including 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 choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Tillmans Corner AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new career in Tillmans Corner AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required 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 training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt 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 individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Tillmans Corner AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school needs 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 relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Tillmans Corner AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Tillmans Corner AL college you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Tillmans Corner AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Tillmans Corner AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Tillmans Corner AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Tillmans Corner home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Tillmans Corner AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Best Tillmans Corner Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tillmans Corner Alabama.