How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Course Midland City Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Midland City AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But where do you begin? Some prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Midland City AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may 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 take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Midland City AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new career in Midland City AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief 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 approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 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 several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Midland City AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative 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 commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Midland City AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Midland City AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Midland City AL program you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing 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 design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Midland City AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Midland City AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Midland City AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Midland City home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Midland City AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Midland City Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Midland City AL.