Interior Designer School
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Bessemer Alabama
So it’s time to start the process of choosing an interior design school near Bessemer AL once you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And because interior designers are licensed in several states, the college you select should prep you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each program you are considering before you make your ultimate decision it's vital that you carry out the proper research. But exactly where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. There are many other qualifications that you should weigh when analyzing schools, for example reputation and accreditation. We will address 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 training choices are available.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Bessemer AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Bessemer AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to begin your new career in Bessemer AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate 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 the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Courses
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Bessemer AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Bessemer AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Bessemer AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate 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 college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Bessemer AL school you enroll in should also provide the suitable 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges 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 a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Bessemer AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Bessemer AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Bessemer AL schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Bessemer home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Bessemer AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Bessemer Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. 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 colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bessemer Alabama.