How to Select the Right Interior Designer School Huguley Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Huguley AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Huguley AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Huguley AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in Huguley AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such 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 programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Huguley AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain 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 programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Huguley AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Huguley AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Huguley AL school you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Huguley AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Huguley AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Huguley AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Huguley home, go to the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you choose provides 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 at night or on weekends near Huguley AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Best Huguley Interior Design Program
Selecting the right interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Huguley AL.