How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Program near Moody Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Moody 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 interiors, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? Many potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, 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 trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad 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 essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily 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 banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must 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 produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Moody AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career in Moody AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly 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 deal with the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Moody AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. 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 sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Moody AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal 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 address with the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you choose 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 gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Moody AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become 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 some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Moody AL college you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Moody AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Moody AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Moody AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Moody home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Moody AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Right Moody Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior design program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding 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 selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Moody Alabama.