How to Find the Right Interior Designer Program Hanceville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Hanceville AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, 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 mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between them is the amount 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, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Hanceville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Hanceville AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new profession in Hanceville AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 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 lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Hanceville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure 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 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 school may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Hanceville AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged 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 requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Hanceville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Hanceville AL program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Hanceville AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Hanceville AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Hanceville AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Hanceville home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. While there speak 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Hanceville AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Hanceville Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hanceville AL.