How to Choose the Right Interior Design School Munford Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Munford AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics 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 training options are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Munford AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Munford AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new profession in Munford AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring 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 advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Munford AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great alternative 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 home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Munford AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Munford AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Munford AL program you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction 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 College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college 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 large network of Munford AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Munford AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors 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 minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Munford AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Munford home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Munford AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Munford Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Munford AL.