How to Choose the Right Interior Design Course near Bridgeport Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Bridgeport AL, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s imperative that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s essential that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you start? Some potential students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 choices are available.
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Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Bridgeport AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Bridgeport AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Bridgeport AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialty 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 their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Classes
For students who to study in the comfort of their Bridgeport AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy 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 programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain 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 setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Bridgeport AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s essential to make sure that the interior designer college and program 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Bridgeport AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. So besides providing an excellent education, the Bridgeport AL school you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of Bridgeport AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Bridgeport AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Bridgeport AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Bridgeport home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Bridgeport AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Interior Design Schools Online Bridgeport AL
Selecting the right interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Interior Design Schools Online and wanted more info on the topic Interior Design Masters Programs. However 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 effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bridgeport AL.
Other Alabama Designer Locations
Bridgeport is a city in Jackson County, Alabama, United States. At the time of 2010 census the population was 2,418, down from 2,728 in 2000. Bridgeport is included in the Chattanooga-Cleveland-Dalton, TN-GA-AL Combined Statistical Area.
Bridgeport developed after the 1840s, when European Americans established a riverboat landing here along the Tennessee River. This landing was a place for local farmers to trade their crops for other goods. Within a few years, a small hamlet known as "Jonesville" had developed around the landing, and included a trading post, gristmill, warehouses, and several saloons. The Jonesville post office opened in 1852.
Fluctuating river levels made riverboat trade unreliable, and area merchants began campaigning for railroad access in the late 1840s. The first rail line reached Jonesville in 1852. A railroad bridge over the Tennessee River was completed in 1854, connecting the city with Chattanooga, Tennessee. In recognition of this accomplishment, the name of the city was changed to "Bridgeport." Construction of a second rail line connecting Bridgeport with Jasper, Tennessee, to the north, began in 1860, but was not completed until after the Civil War.
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