How to Find the Best Interior Design School near Brook Highland Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Brook Highland AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But where do you start? Many future students will begin their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers 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 reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Brook Highland AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Brook Highland AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new career in Brook Highland AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such 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 programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Brook Highland AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Brook Highland AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Brook Highland AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Brook Highland AL program you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask 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 profession and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Brook Highland AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Brook Highland AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Brook Highland AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Brook Highland home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Brook Highland 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 alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose in the Best Brook Highland Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brook Highland Alabama.