How to Choose the Right Interior Design College Moundville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision 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 gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, 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
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Moundville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Moundville AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new career in Moundville AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money 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 required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Moundville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. 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 sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials 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 schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Moundville AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Moundville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Moundville AL program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Moundville AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Moundville AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Moundville AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Moundville home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Moundville AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Moundville Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Moundville AL.