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How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer School near Tuscumbia Alabama

Tuscumbia Alabama interior designed living roomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Tuscumbia 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 interiors, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? Some future students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other important 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 options are offered.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

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Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Tuscumbia AL may specialize in:

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

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Tuscumbia AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.

Interior Designer Training Programs

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Tuscumbia AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive 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 graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five 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 needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Tuscumbia AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Tuscumbia AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Tuscumbia AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Tuscumbia AL school you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools 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 a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Tuscumbia AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Tuscumbia AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Tuscumbia AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Tuscumbia home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Tuscumbia AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Degrees

Choose in the Right Tuscumbia Interior Design Program

Choosing the right interior design college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tuscumbia Alabama.