Home >> Alabama >> Mobile >> Interior Design Programs


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Mobile AL

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Mobile AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the proper 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 essential that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

Start Your Interior Design Career By Requesting Free Info on Local Schools Below

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Mobile AL

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Mobile AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Mobile Alabama interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training required to start your new profession in Mobile AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as 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 select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some 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 supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative 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 job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve 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 normally 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 schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Why Study to Become an Interior Designer?

Mobile AL student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools

When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Mobile AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able 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 school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. 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 obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Mobile Alabama employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Mobile AL program you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Mobile AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Mobile AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide 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 attention from the teachers. Ask the Mobile AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Mobile home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you select provides 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 at night or on weekends near Mobile AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Design School near Mobile Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Mobile AlabamaSelecting the right interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mobile Alabama.