How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College Brundidge Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Brundidge 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 important that you obtain 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 could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Brundidge AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally 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 stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might 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, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to 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 principles, Brundidge AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession in Brundidge AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives 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 their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate 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 normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Brundidge AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional 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 sure that the college you select 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 education. 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 Schools
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Brundidge AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Brundidge AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Brundidge AL program you select should also provide the suitable 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 College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools 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 an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Brundidge AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Brundidge AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Brundidge AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Brundidge home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Brundidge AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Best Brundidge Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brundidge AL.