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How to Find the Best Interior Design Course near Millbrook Alabama

Millbrook Alabama interior designed living roomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Millbrook AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask 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 training options are available.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the level 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 necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Millbrook AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially 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 Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Millbrook AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.

Interior Design Degrees

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There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new profession in Millbrook AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Millbrook AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Millbrook AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Millbrook AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Millbrook AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Millbrook AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Millbrook AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Millbrook AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Millbrook home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Millbrook AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Learn More About Millbrook Interior Design Colleges

Choose in the Right Millbrook Interior Design School

Selecting the ideal interior design program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Millbrook Alabama.