How to Choose the Right Interior Design Course Coats Bend Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Coats Bend AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be 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 so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are available.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The main distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can work 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 a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Coats Bend AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often 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 specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Coats Bend AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new career in Coats Bend AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving 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 improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For students who to study in the convenience of their Coats Bend AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Coats Bend AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry 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 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available 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 College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Coats Bend AL program you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement 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 highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Coats Bend AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Coats Bend AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors 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 may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Coats Bend AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Coats Bend home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Coats Bend AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Coats Bend Interior Design Program
Picking the ideal interior designer college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Coats Bend AL.