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How to Pick the Right Interior Design College Good Hope Alabama

Good Hope Alabama elegant interior designed bathroomNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Good Hope AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other crucial 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 alternatives are offered.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Good Hope AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently 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 example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, 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 appearance as the main consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Good Hope AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to begin your new career in Good Hope AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Classes

For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Good Hope AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Good Hope AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Good Hope AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Good Hope AL college you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Good Hope AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Good Hope AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Good Hope AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Good Hope home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Good Hope AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Accredited Good Hope Interior Design Programs

Pick the Right Good Hope Interior Design Program

Choosing the right interior designer program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Good Hope AL.