Interior Designer Course
How to Find the Right One Near Mobile Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Mobile AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. It's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But just where do you begin? When checking out interior design schools, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. However, a school is not always the best option simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between the two 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, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Mobile AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Mobile AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new career in Mobile AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required 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 brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such 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 primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Mobile AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Mobile AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Mobile AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Mobile AL school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Mobile AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Mobile AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Mobile AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Mobile home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Mobile AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find Out More About How to Become an Interior Designer in Mobile
Choose the Right Mobile Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mobile Alabama.
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