How to Select an Interior Designer College near Hayneville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Hayneville AL, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s important that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s very important that you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator in Hayneville AL if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers in Hayneville AL frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, Hayneville AL designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design in Hayneville AL that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new career. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available near Hayneville AL.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at many Hayneville AL area trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no Hayneville AL area interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your Hayneville AL area college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It’s important to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded 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 programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Hayneville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Hayneville AL college you select should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Hayneville AL area business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of Hayneville AL area interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Hayneville AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the Hayneville AL interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Select the Ideal Interior Design Program near Hayneville AlabamaPicking the ideal interior designer college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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