How to Pick the Right Interior Designer College Brookside Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Brookside AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will address 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 talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education 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 living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Brookside AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily 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 focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. 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 integrating Feng shui principles, Brookside AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new profession in Brookside AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Brookside AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded 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 obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Brookside AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Brookside AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Brookside AL program you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask 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 graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Brookside AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Brookside AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Brookside AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Brookside home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Brookside AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Select the Best Brookside Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior designer program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brookside AL.