How to Select the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Brundidge Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Brundidge AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask 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 offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training 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 attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Brundidge AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Brundidge AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new profession in Brundidge AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job 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 choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve 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 vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Brundidge 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 hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Brundidge AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Brundidge AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Brundidge AL program you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Brundidge AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Brundidge AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Brundidge AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Brundidge home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Brundidge AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Brundidge Interior Design College
Picking the right interior design program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brundidge AL.