How to Find the Right Interior Designer Program Taylor Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Taylor AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 options are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas 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 area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Taylor AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new profession in Taylor AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain 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 components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate 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 typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For students who to study in the comfort of their Taylor AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Taylor AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Taylor AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate 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 work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Taylor AL college you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement 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 trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Taylor AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Taylor AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Taylor AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Taylor home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Taylor AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Pick the Right Taylor Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Taylor AL.