How to Find the Best Interior Designer College near Tuskegee Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Tuskegee AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? Some prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address 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 available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Tuskegee AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Tuskegee AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Tuskegee AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick 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 addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives 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 mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Tuskegee AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges 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 decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Tuskegee AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may 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 employ graduates of accredited programs 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Tuskegee AL program you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Tuskegee AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Tuskegee AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Tuskegee AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Tuskegee home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Tuskegee AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Tuskegee Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tuskegee Alabama.