Home >> Alabama >> Hoover >> Interior Design Colleges


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Hoover AL

How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Hoover AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

Start Your Interior Design Career By Requesting Free Info on Local Schools Below

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Hoover AL

Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Hoover AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an 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 primary concern.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Hoover Alabama interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new profession in Hoover AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job 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 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 primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

Hoover Alabama interior designer bathroomOnce you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Hoover AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Hoover Alabama employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Hoover AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Hoover AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Hoover AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Hoover AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Hoover home, visit the school and monitor a few 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 credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Hoover AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Interior Designer College near Hoover Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Hoover AlabamaSelecting the right interior design school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hoover Alabama.