How to Choose the Right Interior Design School Bear Creek Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Bear Creek AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you start? A number of prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask 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.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates 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 work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Bear Creek AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of 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 may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must 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 principles, Bear Creek AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new profession in Bear Creek AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives 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, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed 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 furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain 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 minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Bear Creek AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Bear Creek AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field 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 verify 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 education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Bear Creek AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Bear Creek AL college you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Bear Creek AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Bear Creek AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Bear Creek AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Bear Creek home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you select provides 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 at night or on weekends near Bear Creek AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Bear Creek Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges 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 Bear Creek AL.