Interior Designer Degree
How to Find the Right One Near Hoover Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Hoover AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the college you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's essential you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right program? When checking out interior design schools, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right choice just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are several other factors that you should weigh when analyzing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates 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 educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Hoover AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Hoover AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new profession in Hoover AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Hoover AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy 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 some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Hoover AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Hoover AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Hoover AL school you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Hoover AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Hoover AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Hoover AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Hoover home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Hoover AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Hoover Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hoover Alabama.