How to Choose the Right Interior Design Course New Brockton Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near New Brockton AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Many potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in New Brockton AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically 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 specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, New Brockton AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new career in New Brockton AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their New Brockton AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your New Brockton AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many New Brockton AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the New Brockton AL college you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a large network of New Brockton AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the New Brockton AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the New Brockton AL colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your New Brockton home, visit the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near New Brockton AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Right New Brockton Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior design college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding 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 selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program 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 balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in New Brockton AL.