How to Pick the Best Interior Design School near Brewton Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Brewton AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Brewton AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Brewton AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new profession in Brewton AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply 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 credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt 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 required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Brewton AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy 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 colleges 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 make certain that the school 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 acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Brewton AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Brewton AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get 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 school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Brewton AL college you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Brewton AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Brewton AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Brewton AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Brewton home, go to the school and monitor 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 styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending school. 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, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Brewton Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many points to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brewton Alabama.