How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program Hanceville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Hanceville AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the proper 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 preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other vital 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 class options are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training 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 living areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Hanceville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Hanceville AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new career in Hanceville AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated 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 furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral 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 typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Hanceville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop 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 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 choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Hanceville AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. 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 gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Hanceville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require 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 college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Hanceville AL college you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Hanceville AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Hanceville AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Hanceville AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Hanceville home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Hanceville AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Best Hanceville Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior designer program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still important that you carry out 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 colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hanceville AL.