How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Course Morris Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Morris AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other crucial 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 choices are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Morris AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Morris AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new career in Morris AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. 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 want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Morris AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Morris AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Morris AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Morris AL program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training 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 School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Morris AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Morris AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Morris AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Morris home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Morris AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Ideal Morris Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided 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 quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Morris AL.