Interior Designer Degree
How to Choose the Right One Near Huntsville Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Huntsville AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. It's important that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Many future students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial 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 choices are offered.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key 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, conducting 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 work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Huntsville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. 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, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Huntsville AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new profession in Huntsville AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives 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. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Huntsville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Huntsville AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their teachers 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 might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Huntsville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Huntsville AL college you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Huntsville AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Huntsville AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller 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 colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Huntsville home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will 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, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find Out More About Studying to Become an Interior Designer in Huntsville
Choose the Right Huntsville Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Huntsville Alabama.
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