Interior Designer Course
How to Find the Right One Near Montgomery Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Montgomery AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. It's imperative that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right program? When checking out interior design schools, many potential students begin by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. However, a school is not always the right choice just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, 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 Compared to Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Montgomery AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Montgomery AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new profession in Montgomery AL. Your decision will no doubt 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, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Classes
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Montgomery AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting 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 minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Montgomery AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following 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 in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Montgomery 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 get 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 college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Montgomery AL program you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Montgomery AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Montgomery AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Montgomery AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Montgomery home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in 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 in the evening or on weekends near Montgomery AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Learn More About How to Become an Interior Designer in Montgomery
Choose the Right Montgomery Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Montgomery Alabama.
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