Interior Designer School
How to Find the Right One Near Homewood Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Homewood AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And because interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the school you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to analyze and compare each school you are reviewing before you make your final choice it's very important that you do the appropriate due diligence. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right program? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. However, a school is not always the right option just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are many other factors that you should weigh when comparing schools, for instance accreditation and reputation. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business 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 numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Homewood AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Homewood AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new career in Homewood AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions 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 profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Courses
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Homewood AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Homewood AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the least expensive college 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 look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. 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 compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Homewood AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Homewood AL school you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Homewood AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Homewood AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Homewood AL colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Homewood home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. While there speak 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Homewood AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Homewood Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive 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 endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. It is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Homewood Alabama.