How to Select the Right Interior Design Program New Brockton Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near New Brockton AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But where do you start? Many potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in New Brockton AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. 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 bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, New Brockton AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new profession in New Brockton AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer 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. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have busy 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 only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program 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 receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your New Brockton AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design college and program that you choose 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 receiving 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when requesting 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 programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the New Brockton AL program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of New Brockton AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the New Brockton AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes 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 Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the New Brockton AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your New Brockton home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near New Brockton AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Select the Right New Brockton Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in New Brockton AL.