Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Hoover Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of picking an interior design school near Hoover AL once you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But where do you start? When looking for interior design schools, the majority of students start by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. There are many other qualifications that you should evaluate when reviewing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask 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 alternatives are available.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN CAREER BELOW!
Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Hoover AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often 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 particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Hoover AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new profession in Hoover AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. 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 cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Hoover AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended 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 cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized 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 distance or online education. 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 perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Hoover AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Hoover AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the Hoover AL program you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Hoover AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Hoover AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Hoover AL colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Hoover home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Hoover AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Hoover Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior design college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a school 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 selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. It is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hoover Alabama.