Home >> Alabama >> Harvest >> Interior Design Courses


Request Free Information on Interior Design Degree Programs Harvest AL 35749


How to Choose the Best Interior Designer School near Harvest Alabama

Harvest Alabama interior designed living room with entertainment centerOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Harvest AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? Some prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

Harvest Alabama interior designed office meeting room

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training 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 work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Harvest AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally 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 emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Harvest AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Design Training Programs

Harvest Alabama interior designed large kitchen

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Harvest AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects 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 job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to study in the convenience of their Harvest AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Harvest Alabama interior designed family room with piano

Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Harvest AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Harvest AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Harvest AL college you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out 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 field and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Harvest AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Harvest AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Harvest AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Harvest home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Harvest AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Harvest Interior Design Colleges

Enroll in the Right Harvest Interior Design School

Choosing the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Harvest Alabama.