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How to Select the Best Interior Designer Program near Moody Alabama

Moody Alabama interior designed living roomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Moody AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

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

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

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Moody AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.

Interior Designer Training Programs

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There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new profession in Moody AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. 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 deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Moody AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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When you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Moody AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field 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 confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many 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, several States do require that interior designers get 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Moody AL school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction 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? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Moody AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Moody AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Moody AL colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Moody home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Moody AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Degrees

Choose in the Best Moody Interior Design School

Selecting the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Moody Alabama.