How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College Moulton Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Moulton AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business 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 educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Moulton AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Moulton AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career in Moulton AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose 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 several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade needed 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 supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Moulton AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending 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 programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program 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 distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Moulton AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Moulton AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get 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, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Moulton AL program you choose should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools 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 esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Moulton AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Moulton AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Moulton AL schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Moulton home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Moulton AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Moulton Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior design program is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Moulton AL.