Interior Designer Degree
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Huntsville Alabama
So it’s time to start the process of selecting an interior design school near Huntsville AL now that you have made a career choice to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since interior designers are licensed in several states, the school you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's crucial you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But just how do you undertake finding the right program? Some prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best choice simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 choices are available.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, 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 work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Huntsville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms 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 several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Huntsville AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new profession in Huntsville AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered 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 education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree 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 training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Huntsville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you pick 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 learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Huntsville AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Huntsville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Huntsville 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 School'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 colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Huntsville AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Huntsville AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Huntsville AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Huntsville home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Huntsville AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Huntsville Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher 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 college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided 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 accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Huntsville Alabama.