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How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Course near Troy Alabama

Troy Alabama interior designed living roomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Troy AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the right 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 as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? Some prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses 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 must be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

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Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between the two 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 areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Troy AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Troy AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.

Interior Designer Degree Options

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There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new career in Troy AL. Your choice will no doubt 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 opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required 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 design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Troy AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have busy 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 a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs 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 commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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When you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Troy AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Troy AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program 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 some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Troy AL college you enroll in should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask 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 field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Troy AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Troy AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Troy AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Troy home, go to the school and attend 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 approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Troy AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Troy Interior Design Schools

Enroll in the Right Troy Interior Design School

Choosing the right interior design program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Troy Alabama.