How to Choose the Best Interior Designer Degree Program near Montgomery Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Montgomery AL, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s essential that you receive the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require 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 that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But where do you begin? Some potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 offered.
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Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Montgomery AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly 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 focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Montgomery AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Montgomery AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter 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 a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives 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 largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For anyone wishing’ to study in the convenience of their Montgomery AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some 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 lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Montgomery AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s necessary to make sure that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many 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, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require 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 requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Montgomery AL school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance 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 high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Montgomery AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Montgomery AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Montgomery AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Montgomery home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Montgomery AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Top Interior Design Programs Montgomery AL
Picking the right interior design college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Top Interior Design Programs and wanted more info on the topic Accredited Interior Design Schools Online. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Montgomery AL.
Other Alabama Designer Locations
Montgomery is the capital city of the U.S. state of Alabama and the county seat of Montgomery County. Named for Richard Montgomery, it stands beside the Alabama River, on the coastal Plain of the Gulf of Mexico. In the 2010 Census, Montgomery's population was 205,764. It is the second most populous city in Alabama, after Birmingham, and is the 118th most populous in the United States. The Montgomery Metropolitan Statistical Area's population in 2010 was estimated at 374,536; it is the fourth largest in the state and 136th among United States metropolitan areas.
The city was incorporated in 1819 as a merger of two towns situated along the Alabama River. It became the state capital in 1846, representing the shift of power to the south-central area of Alabama with the growth of cotton as a commodity crop of the Black Belt and the rise of Mobile as a mercantile port on the Gulf Coast. In February 1861, Montgomery was chosen the first capital of the Confederate States of America, which it remained until the Confederate seat of government moved to Richmond, Virginia, in May of that year. In the middle of the 20th century, Montgomery was a major center of events and protests in the Civil Rights Movement, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Selma to Montgomery marches.
In addition to housing many Alabama government agencies, Montgomery has a large military presence, due to Maxwell Air Force Base; public universities Alabama State University, Troy University (Montgomery campus), and Auburn University at Montgomery; two private post-secondary institutions, Faulkner University and Huntingdon College; high-tech manufacturing, including Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama; and many cultural attractions, such as the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.
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