How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design Course Coats Bend Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Coats Bend AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential that you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person 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, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories 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 area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Coats Bend AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new profession in Coats Bend AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized 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. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Coats Bend AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are working 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 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 additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online 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 right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school must 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 choices as well. But choosing 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 things that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Coats Bend AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate 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 calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Coats Bend AL college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Coats Bend AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Coats Bend AL schools you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Coats Bend AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Coats Bend home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important 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 sure 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, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Ideal Coats Bend Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. 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 appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Coats Bend AL.