How to Find the Right Interior Designer College Hayden Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Hayden AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous 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 attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Hayden AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Hayden AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new career in Hayden AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade 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 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Hayden AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a great 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 some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting 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 sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Hayden AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. 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 confirm 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Hayden AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate 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 several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Hayden AL program you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Hayden AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Hayden AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Hayden AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Hayden home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few 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? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Hayden AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Ideal Hayden Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior design school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hayden AL.