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How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School Bridgeport Alabama

Bridgeport Alabama luxury interior designed spacious bathroomNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer 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 spaces, it's important that you get the right 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 very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Bridgeport AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Bridgeport AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Design Training Programs

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There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new career in Bridgeport AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed 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 accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish 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 community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives 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 the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Designer Colleges

For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Bridgeport AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Once you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Bridgeport AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Bridgeport AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Bridgeport AL program you choose 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Bridgeport AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Bridgeport AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Bridgeport AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Bridgeport home, visit the school and attend 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 styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Bridgeport AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Online Bridgeport Interior Design Courses

Enroll in the Right Bridgeport Interior Design School

Selecting the ideal interior designer program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bridgeport AL.