How to Find the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Hackleburg Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Hackleburg AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be 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 should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Hackleburg AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Hackleburg AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new profession in Hackleburg AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student 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 provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance 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 generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Hackleburg AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Hackleburg AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Hackleburg AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready 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 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 as well. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Hackleburg AL college you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Hackleburg AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Hackleburg AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors 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 large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Hackleburg AL colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Hackleburg home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Hackleburg AL, confirm 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, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Best Hackleburg Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools 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 Hackleburg AL.