How to Choose the Right Interior Designer School Coats Bend Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Coats Bend AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Some future students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Coats Bend AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently 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, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly 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 stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Coats Bend AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new profession in Coats Bend AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 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, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For students who to study in the convenience of their Coats Bend AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a respected 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 education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After 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, 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 move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Coats Bend AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready 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) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Coats Bend AL school you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a significant network of Coats Bend AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Coats Bend AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Coats Bend AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Coats Bend home, go to the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out 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? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Coats Bend AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Best Coats Bend Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still important 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 assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Coats Bend AL.