How to Select the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Hazel Green Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Hazel Green 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 receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will address 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Hazel Green AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Hazel Green AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new career in Hazel Green AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student 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 offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Hazel Green AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole 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 expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain 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 setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Hazel Green AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. 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 applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Hazel Green AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Hazel Green AL college you select should also furnish the proper 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 earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Hazel Green AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Hazel Green AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Hazel Green AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Hazel Green home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Hazel Green AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Best Hazel Green Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hazel Green AL.