Interior Designer Program
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Moody Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Moody AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the school you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each college you are looking at before you make your final decision it's very important that you carry out the appropriate due diligence. But just how do you go about finding the right program? When checking out interior design schools, many potential students begin by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best option just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are various other factors that you should evaluate when analyzing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Moody AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. 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 particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, 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 looks as the main consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Moody AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Moody AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral 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.
In order 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 some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Moody AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Moody AL residence. Naturally 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 choices also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Moody AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare 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 college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Moody AL school you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Moody AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Moody AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Moody AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Moody home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Moody AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Moody Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still essential that you carry out 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 schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Moody Alabama.