Interior Designer College
How to Pick the Best One Near Millbrook Alabama
So it’s time to begin the process of choosing an interior design school near Millbrook AL now that you have made a career choice to study to be an interior designer. It's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a knack for designing commercial or residential interiors. 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 exam also. So it's vital you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final selection. But just where do you begin? When checking out interior design programs, many potential students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will address those topics and other crucial 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 training choices are offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general 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 numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Millbrook AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are several 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 read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Millbrook AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new profession in Millbrook AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide 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 several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available 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 deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Millbrook AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Millbrook AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national 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 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Millbrook AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Millbrook AL school you select should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Millbrook AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Millbrook AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Millbrook AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Millbrook home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Millbrook AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Millbrook Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Millbrook Alabama.