How to Pick the Best Interior Design School near Moores Mill Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Moores Mill AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? Many potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Moores Mill AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically 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 particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Moores Mill AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new profession in Moores Mill AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Moores Mill AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Moores Mill AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design school and program that you select 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Moores Mill AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Moores Mill AL college you enroll in should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Moores Mill AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Moores Mill AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Moores Mill AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Moores Mill home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Moores Mill AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Moores Mill Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Moores Mill Alabama.