Interior Designer Degree
How to Find the Best One Near Hueytown Alabama
So it’s time to start the task of picking an interior design school near Hueytown AL once you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the school you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing test and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each college you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice it's crucial that you do the proper due diligence. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. There are a number of other qualifications that you should weigh when analyzing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Hueytown AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality 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 hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Hueytown AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary 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 decide to enroll in, make certain 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 some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training 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 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Hueytown AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs 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 minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you enroll in 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 online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Hueytown AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Hueytown AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some 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 several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Hueytown AL program you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges 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 an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Hueytown AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Hueytown AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Hueytown AL colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Hueytown home, go to the school and monitor 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 experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Hueytown AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Hueytown Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several points to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hueytown Alabama.