How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design College Brent Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Brent AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many 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 spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Brent AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Brent AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career in Brent AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many 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 examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Brent AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Brent AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive 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 organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Brent AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the Brent AL school you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 received your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Brent AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Brent AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Brent AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Brent home, go to the college and sit in on 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 styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Brent AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Select the Ideal Brent Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior design college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brent AL.