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How to Pick the Best Interior Design Program near Tuskegee Alabama

Tuskegee Alabama interior designed living room with entertainment centerNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school 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 important that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? Many potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 choices are offered.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

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Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas 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, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

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

Interior Designer Training Programs

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Tuskegee AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many 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 degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Tuskegee AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative 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 study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Tuskegee AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. 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 undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Tuskegee AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Tuskegee AL program you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. 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 higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Tuskegee AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Tuskegee AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Tuskegee AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Tuskegee home, visit the college and attend 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Tuskegee AL, make sure that those classes are available. 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 due to work, family or illness.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Colleges

Choose in the Best Tuskegee Interior Design Program

Choosing the right interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tuskegee Alabama.