How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program Montgomery 36101
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Montgomery AL, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s imperative that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s vital that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address 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 options are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Montgomery AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality 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 focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Montgomery AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new profession in Montgomery AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs 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 business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Montgomery AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Montgomery AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It’s important to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Montgomery AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get 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 mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Montgomery AL college you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some help 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 high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Montgomery AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Montgomery AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Montgomery AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Montgomery home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design 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 at night or on weekends near Montgomery AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in an Interior Design School near Montgomery AL?
Perhaps you are considering attending an interior design degree program in the Montgomery Alabama area. If so, you may find the following information about the location of your new school campus interesting and informative.
Montgomery is the capital city of the U.S. state of Alabama and the county seat of Montgomery County. Named for Richard Montgomery, it stands beside the Alabama River, on the coastal Plain of the Gulf of Mexico. In the 2010 Census, Montgomery's population was 205,764. It is the second most populous city in Alabama, after Birmingham, and is the 118th most populous in the United States. The Montgomery Metropolitan Statistical Area's population in 2010 was estimated at 374,536; it is the fourth largest in the state and 136th among United States metropolitan areas.
The city was incorporated in 1819 as a merger of two towns situated along the Alabama River. It became the state capital in 1846, representing the shift of power to the south-central area of Alabama with the growth of cotton as a commodity crop of the Black Belt and the rise of Mobile as a mercantile port on the Gulf Coast. In February 1861, Montgomery was chosen the first capital of the Confederate States of America, which it remained until the Confederate seat of government moved to Richmond, Virginia, in May of that year. In the middle of the 20th century, Montgomery was a major center of events and protests in the Civil Rights Movement, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Selma to Montgomery marches.
In addition to housing many Alabama government agencies, Montgomery has a large military presence, due to Maxwell Air Force Base; public universities Alabama State University, Troy University (Montgomery campus), and Auburn University at Montgomery; two private post-secondary institutions, Faulkner University and Huntingdon College; high-tech manufacturing, including Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama; and many cultural attractions, such as the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.
Choose the Best Interior Design School near Montgomery AL
Choosing the right interior designer college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. You originally came upon this website because you had an initial interest in Top Universities For Masters In Interior Design. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges 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 Montgomery AL.
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