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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Montgomery AL

How to Select the Best Interior Designer Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Montgomery AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Montgomery AL

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous 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 architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Montgomery AL can specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as 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 picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Montgomery Alabama interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new career in Montgomery AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Montgomery Alabama interior designer bathroomOnce you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Montgomery AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Montgomery Alabama employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Montgomery AL school you select should also furnish the proper instruction 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 School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Montgomery AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Montgomery AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Montgomery AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Montgomery home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Montgomery AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Program near Montgomery Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Montgomery AlabamaChoosing the right interior design program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Montgomery Alabama.