Interior Designer Program
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Muscle Shoals Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Muscle Shoals AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. It's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a knack for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since interior designers must be licensed in several states, the college you select should prep you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's essential you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN CAREER BELOW!
Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Muscle Shoals AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Muscle Shoals AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new profession in Muscle Shoals AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam 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 level of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options 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 degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For students who to study in the comfort of their Muscle Shoals AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working 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 some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Muscle Shoals AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous 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 agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Muscle Shoals AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require 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 occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Muscle Shoals AL college you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Muscle Shoals AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Muscle Shoals AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Muscle Shoals AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Muscle Shoals home, visit the campus and sit in on 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 philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Muscle Shoals AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Muscle Shoals Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively 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 Muscle Shoals Alabama.