How to Select an Interior Designer Course near Anniston Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Anniston AL, it’s time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s important that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But just where do you begin? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask 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 choices are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Anniston AL may 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 specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate 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 emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Anniston AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to launch your new profession in Anniston AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Schools
For anyone wishing’ to attend classes in the convenience of their Anniston AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting 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 decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Anniston AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Anniston AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become 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 some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Anniston AL program you choose should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Anniston AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Anniston AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Anniston AL colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Anniston home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask 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? Last, make sure that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Anniston AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Anniston AL?
Anniston is the county seat of Calhoun County in Alabama and is one of two urban centers/principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 23,106. According to 2013 Census estimates, the city had a population of 22,666.
Though the surrounding area was settled much earlier, the mineral resources in the area of Anniston were not exploited until the Civil War. The Confederate States of America then operated an iron furnace near present-day downtown Anniston, until it was finally destroyed by raiding Union cavalry in early 1865. Later, cast iron for sewer systems became the focus of Anniston's industrial output. Cast iron pipe, also called soil pipe, was popular until the advent of plastic pipe in the 1960s.
In 1872, the Woodstock Iron Company, organized by Samuel Noble and Union Gen. Daniel Tyler, rebuilt the furnace on a much larger scale, and started a planned community named Woodstock, soon renamed "Annie's Town" for Annie Scott Tyler, Daniel's daughter and wife of railroad president Alfred L. Tyler. Anniston was chartered as a town in 1873.
Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Anniston AL
Picking the right interior design program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Anniston AL.
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