Interior Designer Program
How to Select 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 begin the process of selecting a school. It's important that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since interior designers must be licensed in several states, the school you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each school you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice it's very important that you do the proper due diligence. But exactly where do you start? When checking out interior design programs, many potential students begin by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN CAREER BELOW!
Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education 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 living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Hartselle AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Hartselle AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new career in Hartselle AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally 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 colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Courses
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Hartselle AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Hartselle AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Hartselle AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Hartselle AL college you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out 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 trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Hartselle AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Hartselle AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Hartselle AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Hartselle home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Hartselle 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, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Hartselle Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance 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 superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hartselle Alabama.