How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Course near Harvest Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Harvest AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate 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 vital that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But where do you begin? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask 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 alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Harvest AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, 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 incorporating Feng shui concepts, Harvest AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Harvest AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of 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 education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions 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 technical and creative facets of the trade needed 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 attaining the 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 enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Harvest AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs 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 decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Harvest AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Harvest AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Harvest AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Harvest AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Harvest AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Harvest AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Harvest home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Harvest AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose in the Best Harvest Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior designer college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Harvest Alabama.