How to Pick the Right Interior Designer College Henagar Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Henagar 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 spaces, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask 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 options are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between them 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 areas. However, working 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 areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Henagar AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Henagar AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Henagar AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide 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 mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student 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 the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Henagar AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good option 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 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 commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire 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 environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Henagar AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing 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 colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Henagar AL college you enroll in 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 working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Henagar AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Henagar AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Henagar AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Henagar home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Henagar AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Select the Ideal Henagar Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. 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 right final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Henagar AL.