Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Find the Best One Near Moody Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of selecting an interior design school near Moody AL now that you have made a career choice to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? Many future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training 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 living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Moody AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Moody AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new career in Moody AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive 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 credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Moody AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting 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 decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Moody AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Moody AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Moody 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 working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Moody AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Moody AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Moody AL colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Moody home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Moody AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Moody Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training 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 receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Moody Alabama.