Interior Designer Degree
How to Choose the Best One Near Hartselle Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Hartselle AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. It's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final decision. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right program? When looking for interior design schools, the majority of students start by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. There are several other factors that you should weigh when analyzing schools, such as accreditation and reputation. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, 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 vs Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas 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 Hartselle AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Hartselle AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to start your new profession in Hartselle AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential 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 specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For students who to study in the comfort of their Hartselle AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Hartselle AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible 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 Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Hartselle AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate training 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 received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want 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 higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Hartselle AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Hartselle AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Hartselle AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Hartselle home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Hartselle AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find Out More About How to Become an Interior Designer in Hartselle
Choose the Right Hartselle Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. It is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hartselle Alabama.
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