How to Find the Right Interior Design College Midland City Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Midland City AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may 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 reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will address those topics and other important 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 compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Midland City AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Midland City AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new profession in Midland City AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment 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 creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Midland City AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Midland City AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Midland City AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require 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. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Midland City AL program you select should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Midland City AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Midland City AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Midland City AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Midland City home, visit the college and attend 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 styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Midland City AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Ideal Midland City Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions 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 superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Midland City AL.