How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program 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 choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final selection. But where do you begin? Some potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Henagar AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may 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, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Henagar AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new profession in Henagar AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential 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 design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically 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 some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Henagar AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed 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 colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Henagar AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Henagar AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Henagar AL school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Henagar AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Henagar AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Henagar AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Henagar home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important 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, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Right Henagar Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior designer program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Henagar AL.