How to Select the Best Interior Design School near Brewton Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Brewton AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you start? Many prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between the two 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 many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Brewton AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus 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 have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Brewton AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in Brewton AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment 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 technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Brewton AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded 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 learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Brewton AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Brewton AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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 calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Brewton AL program you select should also furnish the suitable 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance 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 sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Brewton AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Brewton AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases 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 Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Brewton AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Brewton home, visit the college and attend a few classes. While there 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Brewton AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Best Brewton Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented 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.