How to Select the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Malvern Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Malvern AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other vital 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 training alternatives are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Malvern AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Malvern AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new career in Malvern AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order 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 several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For students who to study in the comfort of their Malvern AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent alternative 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 convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option 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 costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Malvern AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Malvern AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Malvern AL program you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Malvern AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Malvern AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Malvern AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Malvern home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Malvern AL, confirm 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, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Malvern Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several things to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Malvern AL.