How to Pick the Right Interior Design College Mount Vernon Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Mount Vernon AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other important 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 available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education 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 spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Mount Vernon AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Mount Vernon AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new career in Mount Vernon AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick 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 discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly 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.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Mount Vernon AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Mount Vernon AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when requesting 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 hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Mount Vernon AL program you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of Mount Vernon AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Mount Vernon AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Mount Vernon AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Mount Vernon home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Mount Vernon AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Pick the Ideal Mount Vernon Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior design program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mount Vernon AL.