Interior Designer School
How to Find the Best One Near Homewood Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Homewood AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. It's important that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since interior designers must be licensed in several states, the college you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to evaluate and compare each school you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice it's crucial that you perform the proper research. But exactly where do you begin? A number of prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Homewood AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Homewood AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new profession in Homewood AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam 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 offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions 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 creative and technical 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 position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide 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 desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Courses
For students who to study in the comfort of their Homewood AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Homewood AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Homewood AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become 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 college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Homewood AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Homewood AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Homewood AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Homewood AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Homewood home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some 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, make certain that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Homewood AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Homewood Interior Design College
Picking the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Homewood Alabama.