How to Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Brewton Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design 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 imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business 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 educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Brewton AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Brewton AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to begin 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 commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically 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 cover the creative and technical components of the trade 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 supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Brewton AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain 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 setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Brewton AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs 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 important to make sure that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Brewton AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Brewton AL program you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out 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 profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Brewton AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Brewton AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Brewton AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Brewton home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Brewton AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Brewton Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brewton Alabama.