How to Select the Right Interior Designer School Brookside Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Brookside AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? Many potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will cover those issues and other vital 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 class alternatives are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous 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 various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Brookside AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Brookside AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new profession in Brookside AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Brookside AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs 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 highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn 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 college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Brookside AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from 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 an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Brookside AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several 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 some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Brookside AL school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out 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 profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Brookside AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Brookside AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Brookside AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Brookside home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Brookside AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Brookside Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brookside AL.