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How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program near Tuskegee Alabama

Tuskegee Alabama interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Tuskegee AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Many potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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

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

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

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in Tuskegee AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to study in the convenience of their Tuskegee AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

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Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Tuskegee AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. 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 assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Tuskegee AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several 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 some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Tuskegee AL college you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. 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 high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Tuskegee AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Tuskegee AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Tuskegee AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Tuskegee home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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 designer school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Tuskegee AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Tuskegee Interior Design Courses

Enroll in the Right Tuskegee Interior Design School

Picking the right interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tuskegee Alabama.