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How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Course Hartford Alabama

Hartford Alabama luxury interior designed custom bathroomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Hartford AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Hartford AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Hartford AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.

Interior Design Degrees

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to begin your new profession in Hartford AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually 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 deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish 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.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Classes

For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Hartford AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed 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 driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting 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 programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs

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Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Hartford AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Hartford AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some 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 Hartford AL school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements 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 support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Hartford AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Hartford AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Hartford AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Hartford home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of 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 backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Hartford AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Learn More About Online Hartford Interior Design Courses

Enroll in the Best Hartford Interior Design Program

Selecting the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hartford AL.