How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program Mount Vernon Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Mount Vernon AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? Some prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other vital 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 class choices are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Mount Vernon AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular 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 pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Mount Vernon AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new profession in Mount Vernon AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter 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) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions 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 creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential 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 acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For students who to study in the comfort of their Mount Vernon AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole alternative 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 also. Just make certain that the college you select is accredited by a respected 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 earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Mount Vernon AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Mount Vernon AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Mount Vernon AL program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Mount Vernon AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Mount Vernon AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Mount Vernon AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Mount Vernon home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Mount Vernon AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Mount Vernon Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior designer college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mount Vernon AL.