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How to Pick the Right Interior Design School near Montevallo Alabama

Montevallo Alabama interior designed living room with entertainment centerNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Montevallo AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss 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 options are offered.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

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Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training 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 residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Montevallo AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must 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, Montevallo AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new career in Montevallo AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade required 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 supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Montevallo AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Montevallo AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and school 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Montevallo AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate 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 school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Montevallo AL program you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Montevallo AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Montevallo AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Montevallo AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Montevallo home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Montevallo AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Learn More About Montevallo Interior Design Colleges

Enroll in the Best Montevallo Interior Design Program

Choosing the ideal interior design college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Montevallo Alabama.