How to Select the Right Interior Designer College Tallassee Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Tallassee AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Tallassee AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to 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 concepts, Tallassee AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Tallassee AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish 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 minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate 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 typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Tallassee AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized 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 distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Tallassee AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Tallassee AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Tallassee AL college you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Tallassee AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Tallassee AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Tallassee AL schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Tallassee home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Tallassee AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Ideal Tallassee Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior design program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tallassee AL.