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How to Select the Right Interior Design Program near Moores Mill Alabama

Moores Mill Alabama interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Moores Mill AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Many prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

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Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Moores Mill AL may specialize in:

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

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Moores Mill AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Design Degree Programs

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Moores Mill AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required 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 the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally 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, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Moores Mill AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option 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 study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a respected 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 distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

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When you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Moores Mill AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment 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 agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Moores Mill AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate 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 calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Moores Mill AL program you select should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Moores Mill AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Moores Mill AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Moores Mill AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Moores Mill home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Moores Mill AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Moores Mill Interior Design Colleges

Choose in the Right Moores Mill Interior Design School

Choosing the right interior designer program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Moores Mill Alabama.