How to Find the Right Interior Design Course Brighton Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Brighton AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But where do you start? Some potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Brighton AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Brighton AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new profession in Brighton AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally 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 several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Brighton AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting 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 select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Brighton AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Brighton AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require 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 program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Brighton AL program you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Brighton AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Brighton AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help 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 actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Brighton AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Brighton home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Brighton AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Best Brighton Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brighton AL.