How to Pick the Right Interior Designer College Moulton Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Moulton AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Moulton AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of 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 appearance 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 need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Moulton AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new career in Moulton AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote 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 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 explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree 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 design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Moulton AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Moulton AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Moulton AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Moulton AL college you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 earned 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 placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Moulton AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Moulton AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Moulton AL colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Moulton home, go to the school and attend 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 philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Moulton AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Moulton Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Moulton AL.