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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Hoover AL

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Hoover AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you start? Many future students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Hoover AL

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working 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 educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Hoover AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly 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 focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Hoover Alabama interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new career in Hoover AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

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

Why Become an Interior Designer?

Hoover AL student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Hoover AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Hoover Alabama employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Hoover AL college you select should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering 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 college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Hoover AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Hoover AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Hoover AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Hoover home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Hoover AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program near Hoover Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Hoover AlabamaChoosing the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hoover Alabama.