How to Select the Best Interior Designer Course near Moores Mill Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school 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 commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Some prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask 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 Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Moores Mill AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Moores Mill AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new profession in Moores Mill AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted 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 mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 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 supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university 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", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Moores Mill AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Moores Mill AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation 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 recognized 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 requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Moores Mill AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Moores Mill AL college you choose should also furnish the appropriate 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 College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Moores Mill AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Moores Mill AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Moores Mill AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Moores Mill home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you enroll in 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 at night or on weekends near Moores Mill AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Right Moores Mill Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior designer college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Moores Mill Alabama.