How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design School New Brockton Alabama
Now that you have made a decision 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 gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues 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 class alternatives are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can work 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 requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in New Brockton AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary 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 read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, New Brockton AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in New Brockton AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered 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 amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their New Brockton AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent option 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 some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your New Brockton AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 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 accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many New Brockton AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the New Brockton AL college you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a large network of New Brockton AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the New Brockton AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the New Brockton AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your New Brockton home, go to the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important 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 offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right New Brockton Interior Design College
Picking the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still imperative 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 ideal 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.