How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School Harpersville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Harpersville AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But where do you begin? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Harpersville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Harpersville AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new profession in Harpersville AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Harpersville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school 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 receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Harpersville AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and school that you select 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Harpersville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Harpersville AL college you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, 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 esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Harpersville AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Harpersville AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Harpersville AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Harpersville home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Harpersville AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Ideal Harpersville Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Harpersville AL.