Interior Designer Course
How to Pick the Best One Near Anniston Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Anniston AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. It's important that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the school you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's crucial you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But just how do you approach finding the right program? When looking for interior design schools, the majority of students start by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. There are many other qualifications that you should evaluate when comparing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between them is the level of training 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, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Anniston AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Anniston AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Anniston AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish 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", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Anniston AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain 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 obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Anniston AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Anniston AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Anniston AL school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate 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? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Anniston AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Anniston AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Anniston AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Anniston home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Anniston AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Anniston Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior designer college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Anniston Alabama.