How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Course Hazel Green Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Hazel Green AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Some prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the amount 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. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Hazel Green AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily 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 focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They 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 integrating Feng shui concepts, Hazel Green AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career in Hazel Green AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required 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 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically 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 schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Hazel Green AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Hazel Green AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the most affordable 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, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college 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 outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Hazel Green AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Hazel Green AL program you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. 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 high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Hazel Green AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Hazel Green AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? 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. Ask the Hazel Green AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Hazel Green home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Hazel Green AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Ideal Hazel Green Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior design school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hazel Green AL.