How to Select the Right Interior Designer College Hokes Bluff Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Hokes Bluff AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the right training to put your talents 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 as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But where do you start? Many potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Hokes Bluff AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have 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 principles, Hokes Bluff AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new career in Hokes Bluff AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly 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 creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs 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 normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Hokes Bluff AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Hokes Bluff AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their instructors 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 agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Hokes Bluff AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become 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 college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Hokes Bluff AL college you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Hokes Bluff AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Hokes Bluff AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Hokes Bluff AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Hokes Bluff home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Hokes Bluff AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Ideal Hokes Bluff Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hokes Bluff AL.