How to Select the Right Interior Designer Program Brookwood Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Brookwood AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics 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 training choices are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Brookwood AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may 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, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Brookwood AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new profession in Brookwood AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed 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 training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve 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 degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt 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 called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Brookwood AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending 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 schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Brookwood AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design college and program that you choose 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Brookwood AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Brookwood AL college you select should also provide the suitable 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 attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, 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 profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Brookwood AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Brookwood AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Brookwood AL schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Brookwood home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Brookwood AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Ideal Brookwood Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior design program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brookwood AL.