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How to Choose the Best Interior Design Degree Program near Hueytown Alabama

Hueytown Alabama interior designed living roomNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Hueytown AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other vital 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 training alternatives are available.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires 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 trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Hueytown AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily 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 focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

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

Interior Designer Degrees

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There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Hueytown AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed 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 level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to study in the convenience of their Hueytown AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs 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 also. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. 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 ideal alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

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Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Hueytown AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. 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 undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Hueytown AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the Hueytown AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Hueytown AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Hueytown AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Hueytown AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Hueytown home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of 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 experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic 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 Hueytown AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Hueytown Interior Design Programs

Choose in the Best Hueytown Interior Design Program

Picking the ideal interior designer program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However 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 properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hueytown Alabama.