How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Course Bridgeport Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Bridgeport AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final choice. But where do you start? Some prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Bridgeport AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Bridgeport AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Bridgeport AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief 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 field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at many 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 furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Bridgeport AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving 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 also. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Bridgeport AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design college and program that you choose 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Bridgeport AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require 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, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Bridgeport AL school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education 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 College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Bridgeport AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Bridgeport AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Bridgeport AL schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Bridgeport home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Bridgeport AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Find the Best Bridgeport Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bridgeport AL.