How to Choose the Right Interior Designer School Hokes Bluff Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Hokes Bluff AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several 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 very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But just where do you start? Many potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Hokes Bluff AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- 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 hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have 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 implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career in Hokes Bluff AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Hokes Bluff AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent solution 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 sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses 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 agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Hokes Bluff AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous 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 organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Hokes Bluff AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Hokes Bluff AL program you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, 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 may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Hokes Bluff AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Hokes Bluff AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one 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 student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Hokes Bluff home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Hokes Bluff AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Hokes Bluff Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many things to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hokes Bluff AL.