How to Select the Right Interior Designer Program Tallassee Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Tallassee AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? Some prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 options are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Tallassee AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Tallassee AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Tallassee AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some 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. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral 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 usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Tallassee AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Tallassee AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get 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 important to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college 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 training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Tallassee AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Tallassee AL program you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Tallassee AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Tallassee AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Tallassee AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Tallassee home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Tallassee AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Tallassee Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tallassee AL.