How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design School near Hueytown Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Hueytown AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Many prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business 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 Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Hueytown AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Hueytown AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career in Hueytown AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated 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 opt to enroll in, be sure to select 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 addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives 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 degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require 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 sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Hueytown AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance 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 ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Hueytown AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Hueytown AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Hueytown AL program you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support 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 an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Hueytown AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Hueytown AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Hueytown AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Hueytown home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Hueytown AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Hueytown Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations 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 excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hueytown Alabama.