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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Hoover AL

How to Find the Best Interior Design College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Hoover AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Many prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 choices are offered.

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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Hoover AL

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous 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 spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Hoover AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

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

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered 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 as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools

Hoover Alabama interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Hoover AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Hoover Alabama employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Hoover AL college you select should also furnish the suitable training 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Hoover AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Hoover AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again 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 assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Hoover AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Hoover home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Hoover AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Designer College near Hoover Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Hoover AlabamaPicking the ideal interior designer program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many things to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hoover Alabama.