Interior Designer Degree
How to Choose the Right One Near Hoover Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Hoover AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since interior designers must be licensed in several states, the college you select should prep you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's vital you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? When looking for interior design schools, many potential students start by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best option simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN CAREER BELOW!
Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between the two 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 spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Hoover AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They 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 incorporating Feng shui concepts, Hoover AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new career in Hoover AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several 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. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order 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, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Hoover AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative 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 sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools 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.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Hoover AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Hoover AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Hoover AL school you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher 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 may also signify that the school has a large network of Hoover AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Hoover AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Hoover AL schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Hoover home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Hoover AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Hoover Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hoover Alabama.