Interior Designer Degree
How to Pick the Right One Near Anniston Alabama
So it’s time to start the process of choosing an interior design school near Anniston AL once you have made a career choice to study to be an interior designer. It's important that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? Some future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right option simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital 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 choices are available.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Anniston AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently 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 emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Anniston AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new profession in Anniston AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position 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 choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Anniston AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving 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 as well. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Anniston AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Anniston AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Anniston AL college you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Anniston AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Anniston AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Anniston AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Anniston home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask 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, verify that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Anniston AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Anniston Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many points to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Anniston Alabama.