How to Pick the Right Interior Designer School Munford Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Munford 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 spaces, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could 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 reviewing before you make your final decision. But where do you begin? Many future students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 options are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Munford AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Munford AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new career in Munford AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components 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 position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs 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 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Munford AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added 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 certain that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Munford AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Munford AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Munford AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Munford AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Munford AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Munford AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Munford home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Munford AL, make certain that those classes are available. 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 process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Munford Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Munford AL.