Interior Designer School
How to Pick the Best One Near Mountain Brook Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of picking an interior design school near Mountain Brook AL now that you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you start? When checking out interior design schools, many potential students begin by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best choice simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are a number of other considerations that you should evaluate when reviewing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk 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 and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business 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 requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Mountain Brook AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers 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, Mountain Brook AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Mountain Brook AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs 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 technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Mountain Brook AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized 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 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 perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Mountain Brook AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Mountain Brook AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Mountain Brook AL program you select should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some help 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 sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Mountain Brook AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Mountain Brook AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Mountain Brook AL colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Mountain Brook home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Mountain Brook AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Mountain Brook Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mountain Brook Alabama.