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How to Choose the Right Interior Design School Margaret Alabama

Margaret Alabama elegant interior designed spacious bathroomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Margaret AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Margaret AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Margaret AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.

Interior Designer Training Programs

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new profession in Margaret AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally 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 aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish 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.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Online Interior Design Schools

For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Margaret AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a respected 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 education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

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When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Margaret AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Margaret AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Margaret AL program you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Margaret AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Margaret AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Margaret AL colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Margaret home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out 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? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Margaret AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Top Margaret Interior Design Courses

Find the Best Margaret Interior Design College

Picking the ideal interior design program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Margaret AL.