Interior Designer Degree
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Mobile Alabama
So it’s time to start the task of picking an interior design school near Mobile AL now that you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. It's imperative that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And because interior designers are licensed in several states, the college you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing test and provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's very important you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right program? When looking for interior design schools, the majority of students begin by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 options are available.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Mobile AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Mobile AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new profession in Mobile AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually 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 trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives 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. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Mobile AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Mobile AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Mobile AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Mobile AL program you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Mobile AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Mobile AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Mobile AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Mobile home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Mobile AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Mobile Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior design college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. It is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mobile Alabama.