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How to Pick the Right Interior Design Course near Monroeville Alabama

Monroeville Alabama interior designed living room with viewNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Monroeville AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? Some potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will address those topics and other important 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 class choices are offered.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary 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 skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Monroeville AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. 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, Monroeville AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new profession in Monroeville AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for 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 degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices 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 the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and use 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 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 convenience of their Monroeville 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 hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

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Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Monroeville AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. 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 ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Monroeville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Monroeville AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance 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 esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Monroeville AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Monroeville AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring 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 college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Monroeville AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Monroeville home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Monroeville AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Schools

Enroll in the Right Monroeville Interior Design College

Selecting the right interior designer program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. 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 colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Monroeville Alabama.