How to Pick the Right Interior Designer School Mount Vernon Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Mount Vernon AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the proper training to put your skills 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 crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Mount Vernon AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may 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 lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Mount Vernon AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new career in Mount Vernon AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the 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 enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate 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 generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt 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 a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Mount Vernon AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes 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 practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Mount Vernon AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Mount Vernon AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Mount Vernon AL school you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Mount Vernon AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Mount Vernon AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining 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 effectively 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 larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Mount Vernon AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Mount Vernon home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Mount Vernon AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Mount Vernon Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior design college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mount Vernon AL.