How to Pick the Right Interior Designer School Hayden Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Hayden AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills 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 as well. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 choices are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Hayden AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality 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 hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Hayden AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new profession in Hayden AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to 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 qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require 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 exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Hayden AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive 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 structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Hayden AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. 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 school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Hayden AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides providing an excellent education, the Hayden AL college you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. 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 Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Hayden AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Hayden AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Hayden home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Hayden AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Hayden Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hayden AL.