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How to Select the Right Interior Design School Hokes Bluff Alabama

Hokes Bluff Alabama elegant interior designed custom bathroomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Hokes Bluff AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But where do you start? Many prospective students will kick off 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 are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 alternatives are offered.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Hokes Bluff AL may specialize in:

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

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Hokes Bluff AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Hokes Bluff AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven 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 certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally 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 field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Designer Classes

For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Hokes Bluff AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole 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. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

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After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Hokes Bluff AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing 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 issues that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Hokes Bluff AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Hokes Bluff AL school you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, 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 trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Hokes Bluff AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Hokes Bluff AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Hokes Bluff AL schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Hokes Bluff home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Hokes Bluff AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Learn More About Accredited Hokes Bluff Interior Design Schools

Pick the Right Hokes Bluff Interior Design College

Selecting the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hokes Bluff AL.