How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design School Morris Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Morris AL, it's time to start 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 obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But where do you start? Many prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered 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 first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Morris AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Morris AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new profession in Morris AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- 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 generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For students who to study in the convenience of their Morris AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Morris AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on 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 also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Morris AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Morris AL school you choose should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at 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 school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Morris AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Morris AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately 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 personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Morris AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Morris home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Morris AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Select the Ideal Morris Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior design college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Morris AL.