How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Moundville Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Moundville AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? Many potential students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Moundville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically 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 particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Moundville AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new career in Moundville AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed 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 accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many 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 take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Schools
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Moundville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Moundville AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national 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 undergone a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Moundville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Moundville AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering 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 college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Moundville AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Moundville AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small 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 schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Moundville home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Moundville 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, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Best Moundville Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior designer school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain 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 regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided 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 determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Moundville AL.