How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program Coats Bend Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Coats Bend AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, 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 become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? Some potential students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 choices are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the amount 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. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Coats Bend AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Coats Bend AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new career in Coats Bend AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to 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 pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance 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 university or college 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 schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Coats Bend AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Coats Bend AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Coats Bend AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Coats Bend AL college 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Coats Bend AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Coats Bend AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Coats Bend AL schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Coats Bend home, go to the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Coats Bend AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Find the Ideal Coats Bend Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Coats Bend AL.