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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Vestavia Hills AL

How to Select the Best Interior Design Course

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Vestavia Hills AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.

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Interior Design and Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Vestavia Hills AL

Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Vestavia Hills AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area 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 dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Vestavia Hills Alabama interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Vestavia Hills AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose 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 several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives 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. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university 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 required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

Vestavia Hills Alabama interior designer bathroomWhen you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Vestavia Hills AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But selecting 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 things that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Vestavia Hills Alabama employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare 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) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Vestavia Hills AL program you select should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Vestavia Hills AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Vestavia Hills AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school 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 larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Vestavia Hills AL schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Vestavia Hills home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Vestavia Hills AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Choose the Right Interior Design School near Vestavia Hills Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Vestavia Hills AlabamaChoosing the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Vestavia Hills Alabama.