Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Find the Best One Near Mountain Brook Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Mountain Brook AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. It's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And because interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the school you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each program you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research. But exactly where do you begin? Many prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. There are many other factors that you should weigh when analyzing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN CAREER BELOW!
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Mountain Brook AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room 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 working on public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Mountain Brook AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new profession in Mountain Brook AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered 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 provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use 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 called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Classes
For students who to study in the comfort of their Mountain Brook AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs 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 minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded 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 learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Mountain Brook AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to verify 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 industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Mountain Brook AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Mountain Brook AL program you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Mountain Brook AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Mountain Brook AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing 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 college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Mountain Brook AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Mountain Brook home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Mountain Brook AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Learn More About How to Become an Interior Designer in Mountain Brook
Choose the Right Mountain Brook Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs 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 Mountain Brook Alabama.
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