How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Course near Monroeville Alabama
Now that you have decided 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 gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? A number of prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Monroeville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically 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 may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Monroeville AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Monroeville AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for 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 deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade 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 two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized 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 primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Monroeville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Monroeville AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation 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 organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college 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 colleges. Also, many Monroeville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Monroeville AL program you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Monroeville AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Monroeville AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Monroeville AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Monroeville home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic 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 Monroeville AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Right Monroeville Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Monroeville Alabama.