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How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College near Moody Alabama

Moody Alabama interior designed living roomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Moody AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Moody AL may specialize in:

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

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Moody AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Design Training Programs

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There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new career in Moody AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets 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 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly 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 three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use 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 exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Moody AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges 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 environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs

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After you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Moody AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting 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 positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Moody AL college you select should also furnish the proper 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? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Moody AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Moody AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively 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 one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Moody AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Moody home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Moody AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Learn More About Moody Interior Design Colleges

Enroll in the Right Moody Interior Design Program

Picking the right interior designer program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still important 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 effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Moody Alabama.