How to Pick the Right Interior Design College Henagar Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Henagar AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other important 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 class options are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Henagar AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Henagar AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new career in Henagar AL. Your choice will undoubtedly 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 opt to enroll in, make 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 some states. More will be discussed 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 furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices 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 primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Classes
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Henagar AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy 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 some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Henagar AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the cheapest 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, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Henagar AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Henagar AL school you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing 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 design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Henagar AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Henagar AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Henagar AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Henagar home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Henagar AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Henagar Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design school is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many points to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Henagar AL.