How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program Heflin Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Heflin AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? Many prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask 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 class options are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Heflin AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Heflin AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in Heflin AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure 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 choices in specialty 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 programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Classes
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Heflin AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Heflin AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Heflin AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Heflin AL college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at 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 sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Heflin AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Heflin AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Heflin AL colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Heflin home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there talk 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Heflin AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Ideal Heflin Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Heflin AL.