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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Prattville AL

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design College

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Prattville AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Many future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 options are available.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Prattville AL

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Prattville 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 a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily 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 stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Prattville Alabama interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in Prattville AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of 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. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly 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 deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things 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. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Prattville Alabama interior designer bathroomNow that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Prattville AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Prattville Alabama employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Prattville AL school you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Prattville AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Prattville AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Prattville AL schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Prattville home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Prattville AL, 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 also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School near Prattville Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Prattville AlabamaSelecting the right interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prattville Alabama.