How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Degree Program near Monroeville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Monroeville AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics 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 talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, 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 trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Monroeville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Monroeville AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in Monroeville AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical 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 training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to study in the convenience of their Monroeville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Monroeville AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. 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 assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, 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 schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Monroeville AL school you select should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Monroeville AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Monroeville AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Monroeville AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Monroeville home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Monroeville AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask 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 design program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check 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 analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Monroeville Alabama.