How to Pick the Right Interior Design College Hayden Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Hayden AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking 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 offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Hayden AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Hayden AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Hayden AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Hayden AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Hayden AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Hayden AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Hayden AL program you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Hayden AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Hayden AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Hayden AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Hayden home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Hayden AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Hayden Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior design college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several points 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 regarded in the field. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hayden AL.