How to Select an Interior Design Program near Millport Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Millport AL, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s important that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s essential that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Some prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator in Millport AL if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Millport AL often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, Millport AL designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design in Millport AL that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered near Millport AL.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Millport AL area vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole option if no Millport AL area interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your Millport AL area school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s necessary to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Millport AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those states requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Millport AL college you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the state where you will be employed.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Millport AL area business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the colleges you are looking at and find out what type of support they provide. Many of Millport AL area interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Millport AL schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the Millport AL interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Interior Design School near Millport AlabamaSelecting the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.
Some Additional Cities of Interest in Alabama