How to Find the Right Interior Designer School Hanceville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Hanceville AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence 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 should be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. 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 educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Hanceville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Hanceville AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new profession in Hanceville AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for 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 alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Hanceville AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, 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 Hanceville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College 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 school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Hanceville AL college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Hanceville AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Hanceville AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Hanceville AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Hanceville home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Hanceville AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Hanceville Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hanceville AL.