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How to Pick the Right Interior Design School near Brewton Alabama

Brewton Alabama interior designed living roomNow that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Brewton AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues 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 training options are available.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Brewton AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Brewton AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.

Interior Designer Degree Options

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There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in Brewton AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick 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 discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive 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 credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

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 field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

Interior Design Online Programs

For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Brewton AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you choose 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 distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs

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After you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Brewton AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry 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 instructors. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining 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 colleges for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Brewton AL school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Brewton AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Brewton AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal 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 considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Brewton home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Brewton AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Programs

Enroll in the Right Brewton Interior Design School

Picking the right interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly 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 accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brewton Alabama.