Interior Designer Degree
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Millbrook Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Millbrook AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. It's imperative that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And because interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the college you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to evaluate and compare each college you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection it's vital that you perform the appropriate research. But just where do you begin? Some future students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. There are various other factors that you should weigh when analyzing schools, such as accreditation and reputation. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 available.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Millbrook AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room 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 spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to 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 might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Millbrook AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new career in Millbrook AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with 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 obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Courses
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Millbrook AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Millbrook AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing 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 cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Millbrook AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Millbrook AL school you select should also furnish the appropriate 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 support in finding your first job. Ask the schools 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 indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Millbrook AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Millbrook AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Millbrook AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Millbrook home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Millbrook AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Millbrook Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many points to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Millbrook Alabama.