How to Choose the Right Interior Design College Brookwood Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Brookwood AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final decision. But where do you begin? Some prospective 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 are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 options are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Brookwood AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Brookwood AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new profession in Brookwood AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools 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.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Brookwood AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative 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 costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Brookwood AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following 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 to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Brookwood AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Brookwood AL program you select should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Brookwood AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Brookwood AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts 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 larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Brookwood AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Brookwood home, go to the school and attend a couple of 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 backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Brookwood AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Brookwood Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior design program is an important initial 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 no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brookwood AL.