How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near Moores Mill Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design 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 spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. 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 living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Moores Mill AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly 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 may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are several 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 create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Moores Mill AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new profession in Moores Mill AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure 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 offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Moores Mill AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs 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 school may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Moores Mill AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Moores Mill AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to 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 instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges 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 an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Moores Mill AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Moores Mill AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing 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 counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Moores Mill AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Moores Mill home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Moores Mill AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose in the Right Moores Mill Interior Design Program
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still imperative 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 properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Moores Mill Alabama.