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How to Choose the Right Interior Design School Moundville Alabama

Moundville Alabama luxury interior designed spacious bathroomNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Moundville AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? Many prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools 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 reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics 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 talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Moundville AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Moundville AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new career in Moundville AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects 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 position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Colleges

For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Moundville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs

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After you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Moundville AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below 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 assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Moundville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Moundville AL program you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want 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 high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Moundville AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Moundville AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Moundville AL colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Moundville home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Moundville AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Online Moundville Interior Design Programs

Pick the Ideal Moundville Interior Design School

Choosing the ideal interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several points to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Moundville AL.