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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Hoover AL

How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Course

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Hoover AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But just where do you start? A number of potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Hoover AL

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The principal distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Hoover AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

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

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Hoover AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter 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) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components 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 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the 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 advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools

Hoover Alabama interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Hoover AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you select 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 excellent, it may also help when requesting 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 colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some 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, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Hoover AL program you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Hoover AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Hoover AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Hoover AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Hoover home, visit the school 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 approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Hoover AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Best Interior Design College near Hoover Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Hoover AlabamaPicking the ideal interior designer school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hoover Alabama.