How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Program Mignon Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Mignon AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Mignon AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Mignon AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new profession in Mignon AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure 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 offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 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 some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For students who to study in the comfort of their Mignon AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent option 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 colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Mignon AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design school and program that you select 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Mignon AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare 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 several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Mignon AL program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering 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 regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Mignon AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Mignon AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Mignon AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Mignon home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Mignon AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Find the Right Mignon Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mignon AL.