How to Find the Right Interior Design College Hayden Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Hayden AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? Some potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other crucial 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 alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Hayden AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Hayden AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new career in Hayden AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets 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 position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things 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 programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Hayden AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online 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 option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Hayden AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Hayden AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School 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 as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Hayden AL program you select should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges 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 a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Hayden AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Hayden AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized 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 counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Hayden AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Hayden home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Hayden AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Hayden Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still important that you complete 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 final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hayden AL.