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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Prattville AL

How to Select the Best Interior Design College

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Prattville AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? Some future students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital 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 alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Prattville AL

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Prattville AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. 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 specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate 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, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Prattville Alabama interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new career in Prattville AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some 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. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure 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 specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Why Study to Become an Interior Designer?

Prattville 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.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Prattville AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Prattville Alabama employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Prattville AL school you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Prattville AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Prattville AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Prattville AL schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Prattville home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Prattville AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer College near Prattville Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Prattville AlabamaSelecting the right interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prattville Alabama.