How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near Hueytown Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Hueytown AL, it's time to begin 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 receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant 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 discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates 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 educated to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Hueytown AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Hueytown AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new profession in Hueytown AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for 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 cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many 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 university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish 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 hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Hueytown AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Hueytown AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Hueytown AL college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask 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 students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Hueytown AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Hueytown AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college 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 assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Hueytown AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Hueytown home, go to the school and monitor 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 approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Hueytown AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Right Hueytown Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hueytown Alabama.