How to Select the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Munford Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Munford AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Some potential students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working 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 trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Munford AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate 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 concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Munford AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new profession in Munford AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief 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 about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Munford AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. 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 sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Munford AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, 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 reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Munford AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Munford AL program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Munford AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Munford AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer programs 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 important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Munford AL schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Munford home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Munford AL, confirm 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, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Munford Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Munford AL.