How to Choose the Right Interior Design Program East Brewton Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near East Brewton AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in East Brewton AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers often focus predominantly 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 focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, East Brewton AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new career in East Brewton AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt 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) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly 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.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For students who to study in the convenience of their East Brewton AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your East Brewton AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many East Brewton AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the East Brewton AL college you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of East Brewton AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the East Brewton AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the East Brewton AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your East Brewton home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near East Brewton AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Best East Brewton Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many points to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in East Brewton AL.