How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program Brighton Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Brighton AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Brighton AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Brighton AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new profession in Brighton AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions 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 components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
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 required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Brighton AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Brighton AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive 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 school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Brighton AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Brighton AL school you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Brighton AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Brighton AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Brighton AL colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Brighton home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Brighton AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Ideal Brighton Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. 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 right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brighton AL.