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How to Pick the Right Interior Designer College Brundidge Alabama

Brundidge Alabama elegant interior designed bathroomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Brundidge AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But just where do you start? Many prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 offered.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

modern Brundidge Alabama interior designed corporate boardroom

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Brundidge AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers 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 concepts, Brundidge AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.

Interior Designer Degree Programs

open Brundidge Alabama interior designed living room

There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new profession in Brundidge AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student 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 acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly 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.

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 some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Colleges

For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Brundidge AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be 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 acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Brundidge AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the least expensive school 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 look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Brundidge AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Brundidge AL school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Brundidge AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Brundidge AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Brundidge AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Brundidge home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Brundidge AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Accredited Brundidge Interior Design Colleges

Select the Best Brundidge Interior Design School

Selecting the ideal interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brundidge AL.