How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design School Munford Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Munford AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 choices are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of 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 spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Munford AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. 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 integrating Feng shui principles, Munford AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new profession in Munford AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Munford AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving 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 reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Munford AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important 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 respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Munford AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate 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 requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Munford AL program you choose should also furnish the suitable education 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, 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 field and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Munford AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Munford AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Munford AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Munford home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important 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 sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Best Munford Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess 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 accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Munford AL.