Interior Designer Course
How to Choose the Best One Near Hueytown Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of picking an interior design school near Hueytown AL now that you have made a career choice to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since interior designers are licensed in several states, the school you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to evaluate and compare each college you are considering before you make your final decision it's very important that you do the proper due diligence. 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 the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. However, a school is not always the right option just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are a number of other qualifications that you should evaluate when reviewing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 options are available.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Hueytown AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often 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 might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Hueytown AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in Hueytown AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required 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 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish 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 professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Courses
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Hueytown AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting 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 minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Hueytown AL residence. Of course 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 cost of tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Hueytown AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Hueytown AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Hueytown AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Hueytown AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Hueytown AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Hueytown home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Hueytown AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Hueytown Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hueytown Alabama.