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How to Select the Right Interior Design Degree Program East Brewton Alabama

East Brewton Alabama luxury interior designed custom bathroomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near East Brewton 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 interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates 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 many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in East Brewton AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often 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 dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed 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 must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, East Brewton AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Designer Degree Programs

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There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in East Brewton AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • 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 three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Designer Online Classes

For students who to study in the comfort of their East Brewton AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges

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When you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your East Brewton AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the cheapest college 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, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of East Brewton AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the East Brewton AL school you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of East Brewton AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the East Brewton AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the East Brewton AL schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your East Brewton home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near East Brewton AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Accredited East Brewton Interior Design Programs

Pick the Best East Brewton Interior Design Program

Picking the ideal interior designer college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several points to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in East Brewton AL.