Interior Designer Degree
How to Find the Right One Near Anniston Alabama
So it’s time to start the process of selecting an interior design school near Anniston AL now that you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. It's imperative 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 require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So in order to analyze and compare each school you are reviewing prior to making your final choice it's vital that you do the proper due diligence. But just how do you go about finding the right school? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. There are several other factors that you should evaluate when comparing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting 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 and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Anniston AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Anniston AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Anniston AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish 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 lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who wish 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.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate 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 exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Anniston AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent solution 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 practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Anniston AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Anniston AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate 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 calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Anniston AL college you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement 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 in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Anniston AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Anniston AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Anniston AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Anniston home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Anniston AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Learn More About How to Become an Interior Designer in Anniston
Choose the Best Anniston Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior designer college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Anniston Alabama.
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