How to Select the Right Interior Design College Taylor Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Taylor AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? Some future students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will discuss those topics 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 options are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Taylor AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Taylor AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new career in Taylor AL. Your selection 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, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions 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 aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Taylor AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent option 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 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 commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Taylor AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Taylor AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Taylor AL program you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Taylor AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Taylor AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Taylor AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Taylor home, go to the school and attend a couple of 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Taylor AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Find the Best Taylor Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining 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 superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Taylor AL.