How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program Moundville Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Moundville 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 receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? Some 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 important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Moundville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently 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 may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must 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, Moundville AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new profession in Moundville AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order 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, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Classes
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Moundville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized 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 online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Moundville AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Moundville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Moundville AL program you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask 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 students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Moundville AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Moundville AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Moundville AL programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Moundville home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk 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? Last, verify that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Moundville AL, verify 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 because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Moundville Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Moundville AL.