How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Hazel Green Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Hazel Green AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the right 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 could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? Some prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other vital 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 training alternatives are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Hazel Green AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting 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 designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Hazel Green AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required 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. Below are short explanations 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 profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt 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 field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Hazel Green AL homes, there are online accredited 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 many 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 commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Hazel Green AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. 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 gone through a rigorous assessment 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 organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Hazel Green AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Hazel Green AL college you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Hazel Green AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Hazel Green AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Hazel Green AL colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Hazel Green home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. 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 enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Right Hazel Green Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hazel Green AL.