Interior Designer Course
How to Choose the Best One Near Hoover Alabama
Once 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. It's imperative that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And because interior designers are licensed in several states, the school you select should prep you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's essential you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But just how do you go about finding the right school? Some prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN CAREER BELOW!
Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Hoover AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They 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 principles, Hoover AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Hoover AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose 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 covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- 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 available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a 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 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 programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Courses
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Hoover AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Hoover AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Hoover AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as 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. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Hoover AL school you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering 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 held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Hoover AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Hoover AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Hoover AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Hoover home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Hoover AL, make sure 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, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Hoover Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hoover Alabama.