How to Pick the Right Interior Designer College near Monroeville Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Monroeville AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? Many prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 choices are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Monroeville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Monroeville AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in Monroeville AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Monroeville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Monroeville AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable 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 should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Monroeville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Monroeville AL college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Monroeville AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Monroeville AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Monroeville AL colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Monroeville home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Monroeville AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Monroeville Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Monroeville Alabama.