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How to Find the Right Interior Designer School near Brook Highland Alabama

Brook Highland Alabama interior designed living room with viewOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Brook Highland AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Some prospective students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 alternatives are available.

Interior Design and Interior Decoration

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Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work 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 necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. 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 room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Brook Highland AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.

Interior Designer Degree Options

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There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new career in Brook Highland AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Brook Highland AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only 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 costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.

Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Brook Highland AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Brook Highland AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Brook Highland AL school you enroll in should also furnish the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design 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 placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Brook Highland AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Brook Highland AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Brook Highland AL programs you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Brook Highland home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Brook Highland AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Learn More About Brook Highland Interior Design Schools

Enroll in the Best Brook Highland Interior Design Program

Picking the right interior design school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Brook Highland Alabama.