How to Select the Best Interior Designer Program near Brewton Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college 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 spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables 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 address 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 choices are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training 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 living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Brewton AL can 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 may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must 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 principles, Brewton AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Brewton AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to 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 needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree 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 training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically 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 colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Brewton AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Brewton AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional 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 rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Brewton AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Brewton AL school you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Brewton AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Brewton AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Brewton AL colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Brewton home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Brewton AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Right Brewton Interior Design College
Picking the right interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many things to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brewton Alabama.