How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design School Moulton Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Moulton AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Moulton AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Moulton AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to start your new career in Moulton AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Moulton AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative 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 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 additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Moulton AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Moulton AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Moulton AL college you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination 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 earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement 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 esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Moulton AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Moulton AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Moulton AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Moulton home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Moulton AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Best Moulton Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior designer college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things 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 business. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Moulton AL.