How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design College Hazel Green Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Hazel Green AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities 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 examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Hazel Green AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Hazel Green AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new career in Hazel Green AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. 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 university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Hazel Green AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Hazel Green AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Hazel Green AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Hazel Green AL school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs 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 a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Hazel Green AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Hazel Green AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Hazel Green AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Hazel Green home, visit the campus and attend 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 styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Hazel Green 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, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Ideal Hazel Green Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. 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 appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hazel Green AL.