How to Pick the Best Interior Designer Degree Program near Brewton Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Brewton AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since several 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 crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you start? A number of future students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will discuss 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 alternatives are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Brewton AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Brewton AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new profession in Brewton AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many 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 furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Brewton AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Brewton AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment 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 organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Brewton AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require 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, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Brewton AL college you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing 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 probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, 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 trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Brewton AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Brewton AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Brewton AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Brewton home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Brewton AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Right Brewton Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brewton Alabama.