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How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Degree Program New Hope Alabama

New Hope Alabama luxury interior designed bathroomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near New Hope 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 get the proper 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 also. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? Some prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in New Hope AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, New Hope AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new career in New Hope AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Designer Online Degree Programs

For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their New Hope AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs 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 reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

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When you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin 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 New Hope AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of New Hope AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the New Hope AL school you choose should also provide the proper instruction 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 School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of New Hope AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the New Hope AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the New Hope AL colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your New Hope home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near New Hope AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Online New Hope Interior Design Colleges

Pick the Best New Hope Interior Design College

Choosing the right interior designer program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in New Hope AL.