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How to Find the Right Interior Design College near Hueytown Alabama

Hueytown Alabama interior designed living room with entertainment centerNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Hueytown AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you start? A number of 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 key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other important 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 Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting 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 trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Hueytown AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area 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 frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.

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

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new career in Hueytown AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations 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 approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth 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 position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Hueytown AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

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Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Hueytown AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by 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 demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Hueytown AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Hueytown AL program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Hueytown AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Hueytown AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Hueytown AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Hueytown home, go to the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Hueytown AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Courses

Choose in the Right Hueytown Interior Design Program

Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided 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 excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hueytown Alabama.