How to Find the Right Interior Design School Coaling Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Coaling AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? A number of prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 class alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic 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 as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Coaling AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms 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 numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Coaling AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new profession in Coaling AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly 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 creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. 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 college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Coaling AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Coaling AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as 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 get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Coaling AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate 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 college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Coaling AL school you select should also provide 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Coaling AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Coaling AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Coaling AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Coaling home, go to the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. While there 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Coaling AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Ideal Coaling Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior design college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Coaling AL.