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How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design College Minor Alabama

Minor Alabama luxury interior designed bathroomNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Minor AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital 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 choices are offered.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Minor AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas 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 needs to learn, such as 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 choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Minor AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Design Training Programs

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new profession in Minor AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs 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 aspects of the business required 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 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Design Colleges

For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Minor AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting 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 programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

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Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Minor AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. 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 requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Minor AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Minor AL program you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Minor AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Minor AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Minor AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Minor home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Minor 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, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Top Minor Interior Design Programs

Pick the Ideal Minor Interior Design School

Picking the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Minor AL.