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How to Find the Right Interior Designer School Brookside Alabama

Brookside Alabama elegant interior designed spacious bathroomNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Brookside AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final selection. But just where do you start? Many potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Brookside AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must 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 principles, Brookside AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.

Interior Design Training Programs

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There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to start your new profession in Brookside AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated 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. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects 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 position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Online Interior Designer Classes

For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Brookside AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Brookside AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Brookside AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Brookside AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements 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 undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Brookside AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Brookside AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Brookside AL colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Brookside home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Brookside AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Find Out More About Online Brookside Interior Design Schools

Find the Ideal Brookside Interior Design College

Picking the right interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brookside AL.