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How to Select the Right Interior Design Course near Tuscumbia Alabama

Tuscumbia Alabama interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Tuscumbia AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Tuscumbia AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically 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 may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Tuscumbia AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new career in Tuscumbia AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives 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. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish 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 use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Tuscumbia AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Tuscumbia AL residence. Of course if you have decided on 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 choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Tuscumbia AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Tuscumbia AL program you choose should also furnish the proper training 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Tuscumbia AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Tuscumbia AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Tuscumbia AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Tuscumbia home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Tuscumbia AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Schools

Enroll in the Best Tuscumbia Interior Design College

Selecting the ideal interior design program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have selected. 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, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest 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 ideal final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tuscumbia Alabama.