How to Find the Right Interior Designer College Brookwood Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Brookwood AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask 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 training alternatives are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education 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 various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Brookwood AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Brookwood AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new career in Brookwood AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. 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 cover the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized 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. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
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 a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Brookwood AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Brookwood AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded 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 programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Brookwood AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Brookwood AL school you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Brookwood AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Brookwood AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Brookwood AL schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Brookwood home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Brookwood AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Best Brookwood Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many points to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brookwood AL.