How to Select the Right Interior Design Course Hokes Bluff Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school 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 imperative that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? Some potential students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will address 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 class choices are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad 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 basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Hokes Bluff AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new profession in Hokes Bluff AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives 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. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Hokes Bluff AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Hokes Bluff AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. 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 undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Hokes Bluff AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Hokes Bluff AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable education 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 School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Hokes Bluff AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Hokes Bluff AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Hokes Bluff AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Hokes Bluff home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Hokes Bluff AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Right Hokes Bluff Interior Design Program
Choosing the ideal interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance 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 ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hokes Bluff AL.