How to Select the Right Interior Design College near Tillmans Corner Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Tillmans Corner AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates 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 trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Tillmans Corner AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate 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 lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Tillmans Corner AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new career in Tillmans Corner AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated 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 choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training 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 positions 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 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 job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for 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 schools. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. 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 only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Tillmans Corner AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional 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 undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Tillmans Corner AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Tillmans Corner AL college you choose should also furnish the proper education 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? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Tillmans Corner AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Tillmans Corner AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Tillmans Corner AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Tillmans Corner home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night 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, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Tillmans Corner Interior Design Program
Selecting the right interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several points to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tillmans Corner Alabama.