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How to Select the Best Interior Designer Degree Program near Moody Alabama

Moody Alabama interior designed living room with viewOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Moody AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 offered.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Moody AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

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

Interior Design Training Programs

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There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new career in Moody AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose 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 covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to study in the convenience of their Moody AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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When you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Moody AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Moody AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate 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 several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Moody AL program you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements 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 no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, 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 profession and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Moody AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Moody AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Moody AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Moody home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Moody AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Schools

Choose in the Right Moody Interior Design Program

Selecting the right interior design school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Moody Alabama.