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How to Find the Right Interior Designer College near Tuskegee Alabama

Tuskegee Alabama interior designed living room with viewNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Tuskegee AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial 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 alternatives are available.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business 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 taught to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Tuskegee AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. 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 functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Tuskegee AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.

Interior Design Training Programs

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There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new career in Tuskegee AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty 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 degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Tuskegee AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

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When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Tuskegee AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Tuskegee AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Tuskegee AL school you select should also provide the appropriate education 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 received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Tuskegee AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Tuskegee AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Tuskegee AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Tuskegee home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Tuskegee AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Tuskegee Interior Design Colleges

Choose in the Right Tuskegee Interior Design College

Choosing the right interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tuskegee Alabama.