How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Brent Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Brent 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 imperative that you receive the right 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 exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? A number of prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask 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 choices are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Brent AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Brent AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training required to begin your new profession in Brent AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want 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.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Brent AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a respected 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 online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain 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 Designer Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Brent AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Brent AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Brent AL program you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance 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 regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a large network of Brent AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Brent AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Brent AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Brent home, visit the college and attend a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Brent AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Brent Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior designer school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brent AL.