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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Huntsville AL

How to Find the Best Interior Designer Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Huntsville AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you start? Some potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will cover 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 cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Huntsville AL

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The key difference between the two is the level of training 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Huntsville AL may specialize in:

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

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Huntsville Alabama interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new profession in Huntsville AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative 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 job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Why Study to Become an Interior Designer?

Huntsville 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.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Huntsville AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Huntsville Alabama employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate 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 school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Huntsville AL college you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement 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 regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Huntsville AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Huntsville AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Huntsville AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Huntsville home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Huntsville AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College near Huntsville Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Huntsville AlabamaPicking the right interior designer college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Huntsville Alabama.