How to Find the Right Interior Designer College Mignon Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Mignon AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between them is the amount of education 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, doing 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 educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Mignon AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Mignon AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new career in Mignon AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations 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 finish and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty 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. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Mignon AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great solution 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 practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a respected 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Mignon AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and school that you select 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 rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Mignon AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate 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 calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Mignon AL school you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges 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 an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Mignon AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Mignon AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts 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. Ask the Mignon AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Mignon home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Mignon AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Select the Ideal Mignon Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mignon AL.