How to Find the Right Interior Designer Program Hokes Bluff Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Hokes Bluff AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain 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 appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Hokes Bluff AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Hokes Bluff AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new profession in Hokes Bluff AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade 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 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Hokes Bluff AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs 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 study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Hokes Bluff AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment 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 agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Hokes Bluff AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare 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 as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Hokes Bluff AL program you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Hokes Bluff AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Hokes Bluff AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Hokes Bluff AL schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Hokes Bluff home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Hokes Bluff AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Best Hokes Bluff Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many things to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hokes Bluff AL.