How to Pick the Right Interior Design Degree Program Tallassee Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Tallassee AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But just where do you begin? Some potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Tallassee AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Tallassee AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Tallassee AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business required 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 two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For those who wish 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 busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs 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 traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Tallassee AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Tallassee AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require 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 requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Tallassee AL college you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with 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 probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Tallassee AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Tallassee AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Tallassee AL schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Tallassee home, go to the college and monitor 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 styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic 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, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Select the Ideal Tallassee Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive 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 undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several things to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tallassee AL.