Interior Designer Program
How to Find the Right One Near Talladega Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Talladega AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. It's important that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And because interior designers must be licensed in several states, the college you select should prep you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's very important you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But just how do you approach finding the right school? Some potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. However, a school is not always the best option simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are many other qualifications that you should evaluate when reviewing schools, for instance 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 first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Talladega AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal 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 may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Talladega AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Talladega AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered 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 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Talladega AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Talladega AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from 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 a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Talladega AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Talladega AL program you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Talladega AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Talladega AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Talladega AL schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Talladega home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Talladega AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Talladega Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Talladega Alabama.