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How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program Bear Creek Alabama

Bear Creek Alabama luxury interior designed custom bathroomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Bear Creek AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Bear Creek AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, 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 integrating Feng shui concepts, Bear Creek AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Design Training Programs

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There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new career in Bear Creek AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many 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 degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Online Interior Design Colleges

For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience 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 hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Bear Creek AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. 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 teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college 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 accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Bear Creek AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Bear Creek AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering 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 college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Bear Creek AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Bear Creek AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Bear Creek AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Bear Creek home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Bear Creek AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Learn More About Online Bear Creek Interior Design Programs

Find the Ideal Bear Creek Interior Design School

Picking the right interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bear Creek AL.