How to Choose the Right Interior Design College Tallassee Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Tallassee AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Many potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 alternatives are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Tallassee AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Tallassee AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Tallassee AL. Your choice will undoubtedly 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 opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate 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 acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Tallassee AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online 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 ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Tallassee AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Tallassee AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Tallassee AL school you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Tallassee AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Tallassee AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Tallassee AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Tallassee home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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, make certain that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Tallassee AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Tallassee Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior designer college is an important initial step toward starting 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 daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Tallassee AL.