How to Find the Right Interior Designer College Brighton Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Brighton 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 appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? A number of potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at 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 available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates 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 work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Brighton AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, 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 main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as 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 including Feng shui concepts, Brighton AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Brighton AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives 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, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short 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 profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Brighton AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges 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 study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn 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 option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Brighton AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive 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 college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Brighton AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Brighton AL program 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement 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 profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Brighton AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Brighton AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Brighton AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Brighton home, visit the campus 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 styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Brighton AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Best Brighton Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several points to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided 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 determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brighton AL.