How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College Hanceville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Hanceville AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Hanceville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Hanceville AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career in Hanceville AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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 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. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Hanceville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive 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 environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Hanceville AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Hanceville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Hanceville AL college you choose should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing 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 need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Hanceville AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Hanceville AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Hanceville AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Hanceville home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. While there 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Hanceville AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Hanceville Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential 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 properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hanceville AL.