How to Choose the Right Interior Design Course Berry Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Berry AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of 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 various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Berry AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Berry AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Berry AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 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 professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Berry AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire 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 environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Berry AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Berry AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Berry AL school you select should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, 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 field and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Berry AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Berry AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Berry AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Berry home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out 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? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Berry AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Pick the Right Berry Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior design program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Berry AL.