How to Pick the Right Interior Design Course Bridgeport Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Bridgeport 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 right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's essential that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the level 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 areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Bridgeport AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, 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 main concern.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Bridgeport AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in Bridgeport AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade needed 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 furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Bridgeport AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Bridgeport AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the school 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, a number of Bridgeport AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Bridgeport AL college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing 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 college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Bridgeport AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Bridgeport AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Bridgeport AL colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Bridgeport home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Bridgeport AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Bridgeport Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bridgeport AL.