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How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Course near Midfield Alabama

Midfield Alabama interior designed living roomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Midfield AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? Some potential students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will cover 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 alternatives are offered.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Midfield AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Midfield AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.

Interior Designer Training Programs

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new profession in Midfield AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options 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. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Midfield AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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After you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Midfield AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Midfield AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Midfield AL school you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Midfield AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Midfield AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Midfield AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Midfield home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Midfield AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Colleges

Enroll in the Right Midfield Interior Design School

Selecting the right interior design program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Midfield Alabama.