How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Course Harpersville Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Harpersville 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 interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. 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 training choices are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic 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 a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Harpersville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily 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 focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They 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 including Feng shui concepts, Harpersville AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Harpersville AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed 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 benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish 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 minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Harpersville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Harpersville AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Harpersville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Harpersville AL program you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance 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 highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Harpersville AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Harpersville AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Harpersville AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Harpersville home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Harpersville AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Right Harpersville Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior designer school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Harpersville AL.