How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Program Bear Creek Alabama
Once you have decided 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 talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 choices are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Bear Creek AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Bear Creek AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to start your new career in Bear Creek AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take 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 short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level 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 typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree 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 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. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Bear Creek AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to 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 programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Bear Creek AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Bear Creek AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Bear Creek AL program you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Bear Creek AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Bear Creek AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Bear Creek AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Bear Creek home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Bear Creek AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Ideal Bear Creek Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior design program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bear Creek AL.