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How to Select the Right Interior Designer School Henagar Alabama

Henagar Alabama elegant interior designed custom bathroomNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Henagar AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Some prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Henagar AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Henagar AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new profession in Henagar AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have 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 needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Designer Online Colleges

For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Henagar AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

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When you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Henagar AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. 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 an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Henagar AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Henagar AL program you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Henagar AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Henagar AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Henagar AL colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Henagar home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask 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, confirm that the interior designer school you select 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 go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Henagar AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Online Henagar Interior Design Courses

Choose the Ideal Henagar Interior Design Program

Selecting the right interior design school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Henagar AL.