How to Select the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Mignon Alabama
Once 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 imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final decision. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial 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 options are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Mignon AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Mignon AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new profession in Mignon AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide 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 the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually 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 some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Mignon AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Mignon AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Mignon AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Mignon AL program you select should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Mignon AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Mignon AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Mignon AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Mignon home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few 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 sure that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Mignon AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Ideal Mignon Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design school is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. 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 complete your due diligence analysis. 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 colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mignon AL.