How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Hackleburg Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Hackleburg AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. 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 available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Hackleburg AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Hackleburg AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new profession in Hackleburg AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain 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 cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Hackleburg AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Hackleburg AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design college and program that you choose has been accredited by 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 gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education 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, many Hackleburg AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Hackleburg AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Hackleburg AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Hackleburg AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Hackleburg AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Hackleburg home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Hackleburg AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Hackleburg Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior design college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hackleburg AL.