How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Course near Brook Highland Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Brook Highland AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you start? Some potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Brook Highland AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Brook Highland AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new profession in Brook Highland AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required 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 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Brook Highland AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Brook Highland AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm 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 field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Brook Highland AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Brook Highland AL college you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Brook Highland AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Brook Highland AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Brook Highland AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Brook Highland home, visit the campus and sit in on a few 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 experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Brook Highland AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Right Brook Highland Interior Design Program
Choosing the right interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brook Highland Alabama.