How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program near Brewton Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Brewton AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting 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 residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Brewton AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Brewton AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Brewton AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive 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 college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Brewton AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. 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 alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Brewton AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design college and program that you choose has been accredited by 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college 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 outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Brewton AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Brewton AL program you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Brewton AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Brewton AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Brewton AL programs you are reviewing 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 some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Brewton AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose in the Best Brewton Interior Design College
Picking the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brewton Alabama.