How to Select an Interior Design Course near Haleyville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Haleyville AL, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s vital that you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Some prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator in Haleyville AL if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates 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 areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Haleyville AL typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, Haleyville AL designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal 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 focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design in Haleyville AL that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new profession. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered near Haleyville AL.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at many Haleyville AL area trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly 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 three to five years.
In order to work as a professional 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 an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Classes
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no Haleyville AL area interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your Haleyville AL area college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s essential to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional 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 undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Haleyville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several states do require that interior designers become 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 college. And in several of those states mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides providing an excellent education, the Haleyville AL program you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask 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 might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Haleyville AL area business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of Haleyville AL area interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college 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 offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Haleyville AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the Haleyville AL interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Best Interior Design College near Haleyville AlabamaPicking the ideal interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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