Interior Designer School
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Millbrook Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of picking an interior design school near Millbrook AL once you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But just where do you begin? Many future students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 choices are available.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Millbrook AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks 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. They have 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 concepts, Millbrook AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new career in Millbrook AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Classes
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Millbrook AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended 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 colleges 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 reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded 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 earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Millbrook AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Millbrook AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Millbrook AL college you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Millbrook AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Millbrook AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is important 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 Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Millbrook AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Millbrook home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your busy 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 Millbrook AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Millbrook Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Millbrook Alabama.