How to Choose the Right Interior Design Program Bear Creek Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design 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 residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account also. We will cover those issues 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 class options are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires 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 educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Bear Creek AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example 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 carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Bear Creek AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new profession 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 devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire 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.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Bear Creek AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Bear Creek AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by 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 demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college 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 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 colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Bear Creek AL college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Bear Creek AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Bear Creek AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Bear Creek AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Bear Creek home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there 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? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Bear Creek AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll 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.
Pick the Ideal Bear Creek Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior designer college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several points to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bear Creek AL.