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How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School Brent Alabama

Brent Alabama elegant interior designed bathroomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program 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 interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

modern Brent Alabama interior designed corporate meeting room

Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training 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 living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Brent AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Brent AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.

Interior Design Degree Options

open Brent Alabama interior designed living room

There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new career in Brent AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose 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) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects 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 job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Designer Classes

For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Brent AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Brent AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm 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 respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding 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 college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered 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 Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several 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 mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Brent AL school you select should also furnish the suitable training 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Brent AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Brent AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Brent AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Brent home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend 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, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Accredited Brent Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Best Brent Interior Design School

Choosing the right interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brent AL.