How to Select an Interior Design Program near Monroeville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Monroeville AL, it’s time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s imperative that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But where do you start? Some future students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Monroeville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically 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 specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces 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 several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Monroeville AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new career in Monroeville AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally 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 called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For anyone wishing’ to attend classes in the convenience of their Monroeville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Monroeville AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s important to make sure that the interior design 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Monroeville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges 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 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 some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Monroeville AL program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Monroeville AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Monroeville AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Monroeville AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Monroeville home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Monroeville AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Monroeville AL?
It is known as the hometown of two prominent writers of the post-World War II period, Truman Capote and Harper Lee, who were childhood friends in the 1930s. Lee's 1960 novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, earned her the Pulitzer Prize. The lasting fame of To Kill a Mockingbird became a tourist draw for the town. In 1997, the Alabama Legislature designated Monroeville and Monroe County as the "Literary Capital of Alabama."
The town was initially known as Walker's Mill and Store, named for Major Walker, the area's first white settler. In 1832, the county seat was relocated to Monroeville from Claiborne on the Alabama River. The settlement was briefly renamed "Centerville" due to its location in the center of the county, but then it was formally changed to Monroeville. The town was not formally incorporated until April 15, 1899.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.4 square miles (34.7 km2), of which 13.4 square miles (34.6 km2) is land and 0.0077 square miles (0.02 km2), or 0.05%, is water.
Find the Right Interior Design School near Monroeville AL
Picking the right interior design college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Monroeville AL.
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