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How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Program New Brockton Alabama

New Brockton Alabama beautiful interior designed bathroomOnce you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near New Brockton 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 interiors, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Some potential students will start their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 available.

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

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Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in New Brockton AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, 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 appearance as the main consideration.

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, New Brockton AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.

Interior Designer Training Programs

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There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new career in New Brockton AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Online Interior Designer Colleges

For students who to study in the comfort of their New Brockton AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges 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 traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.

Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

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Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your New Brockton AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many New Brockton AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the New Brockton AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, 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 field and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of New Brockton AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the New Brockton AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the New Brockton AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your New Brockton home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near New Brockton AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Learn More About Online New Brockton Interior Design Courses

Pick the Ideal New Brockton Interior Design College

Choosing the ideal interior designer program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in New Brockton AL.