Interior Designer College
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Millbrook Alabama
So it’s time to begin the process of selecting an interior design school near Millbrook AL now that you have made a career decision 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 talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since interior designers are licensed in several states, the school you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to analyze and compare each program you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice it's very important that you carry out the appropriate due diligence. But just how do you undertake finding the right program? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. There are a number of other considerations that you should weigh when comparing schools, for example accreditation and reputation. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Millbrook AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Millbrook AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new profession in Millbrook AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options 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 the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Courses
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Millbrook AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain 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 setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Millbrook AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. 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 issues that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program 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 education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Millbrook AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate 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 several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Millbrook AL program you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign 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 significant network of Millbrook AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Millbrook AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Millbrook AL schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Millbrook home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Millbrook AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Millbrook Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Millbrook Alabama.