How to Pick the Right Interior Design School Haleyville Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Haleyville AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But just where do you begin? Some potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Haleyville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Haleyville AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new profession in Haleyville AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many 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 provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees 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 typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Haleyville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Haleyville AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from 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 evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Haleyville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Haleyville AL college you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. 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 an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Haleyville AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Haleyville AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Haleyville AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Haleyville home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Haleyville AL, confirm 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 protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Haleyville Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations 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 superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Haleyville AL.