How to Find the Right Interior Design Program near Moody Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Moody AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Some potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught 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 two general areas that an interior designer in Moody AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality 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 might focus 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, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Moody AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Moody AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure 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 offer options 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 their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 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 professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Moody AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good solution 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 home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain 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 schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Moody AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Moody AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Moody AL school you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Moody AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Moody AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts 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 little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Moody AL colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Moody home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Moody AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Moody Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Moody Alabama.