How to Select the Right Interior Design College Brantleyville Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Brantleyville AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your talents 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 as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Some prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other vital 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 training alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business 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 necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Brantleyville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Brantleyville AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career in Brantleyville AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options 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. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Brantleyville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed 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 some students online programs may be the sole option 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 also. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn 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 college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Brantleyville AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Brantleyville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require 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, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Brantleyville AL school you enroll in 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Brantleyville AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Brantleyville AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Brantleyville AL schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Brantleyville home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Brantleyville AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Ideal Brantleyville Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design school is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brantleyville AL.