Interior Designer School
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Hartselle Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Hartselle AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since interior designers must be licensed in several states, the college you select should prep you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's essential you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? When checking out interior design schools, many potential students start by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Hartselle AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Hartselle AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to start your new profession in Hartselle AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance 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 college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Courses
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Hartselle AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Hartselle AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Hartselle AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Hartselle AL school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Hartselle AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Hartselle AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases 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? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Hartselle AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Hartselle home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Hartselle AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Hartselle Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior designer school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. It is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hartselle Alabama.