Interior Designer School
How to Find the Best One Near Bessemer Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Bessemer AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So in order to assess and compare each college you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice it's very important that you do the proper due diligence. But just how do you go about finding the right program? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial 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 choices are available.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between them is the amount of education 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, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Bessemer AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. 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 bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Bessemer AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Bessemer AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of 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. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Bessemer AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Bessemer AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Bessemer AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Bessemer AL school you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Bessemer AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Bessemer AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Bessemer AL schools you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Bessemer home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Bessemer AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Bessemer Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design program is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bessemer Alabama.