How to Find the Right Interior Designer Program Haleyville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Haleyville AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Haleyville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often 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 specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Haleyville AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new profession in Haleyville AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate 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 examination.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For students who to study in the comfort of their Haleyville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded 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 distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Haleyville AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Haleyville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Haleyville AL school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Haleyville AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Haleyville AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Haleyville AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Haleyville home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Haleyville AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Find the Ideal Haleyville Interior Design Program
Selecting the right interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Haleyville AL.