How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design College Brantleyville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Brantleyville AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Some future students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Brantleyville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Brantleyville AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new career in Brantleyville AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven 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 select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Brantleyville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic 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 many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Brantleyville AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Brantleyville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Brantleyville AL school you enroll in should also provide the proper 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 School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Brantleyville AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Brantleyville AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Brantleyville AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Brantleyville home, visit the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with some 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, make sure that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Brantleyville AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Find the Best Brantleyville Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior design college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many things to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brantleyville AL.