How to Pick the Right Interior Design Course Midland City Alabama
Once you have decided 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 spaces, it's important that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting 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 educated to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Midland City AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Midland City AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to begin your new career in Midland City AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions 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 components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use 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 required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For students who to study in the convenience of their Midland City AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you choose 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 distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Midland City AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry 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 programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Midland City AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several 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 school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Midland City AL college you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Midland City AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Midland City AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Midland City AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Midland City home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Midland City AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Best Midland City Interior Design Program
Selecting the right interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many points to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Midland City AL.