How to Select the Right Interior Designer College Bear Creek Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Bear Creek AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Bear Creek AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Bear Creek AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Bear Creek AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- 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", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Bear Creek AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy 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 sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Bear Creek AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Bear Creek AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Bear Creek AL college you choose should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs 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 sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Bear Creek AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Bear Creek AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Bear Creek AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Bear Creek home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Bear Creek AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Select the Best Bear Creek Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bear Creek AL.