Interior Designer School
How to Find the Best One Near Talladega Alabama
So it’s time to start the task of picking an interior design school near Talladega AL once you have made a career decision 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 talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But just how do you approach finding the right program? When checking out interior design schools, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right choice simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are various other qualifications that you should evaluate when analyzing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 offered.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working 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 educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Talladega AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial 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 create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Talladega AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new career in Talladega AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions 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 roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For students who to study in the comfort of their Talladega AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges 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 setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Talladega AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and school 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Talladega AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Talladega AL program you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Talladega AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Talladega AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Talladega AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Talladega home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Talladega AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Talladega Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several points to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. It is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. 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 colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Talladega Alabama.