How to Pick the Right Interior Design Course Coosada Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Coosada AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But where do you begin? A number of potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. 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 basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Coosada 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 example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, for example lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Coosada AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Coosada AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Coosada AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Coosada AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Coosada AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Coosada AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering 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 school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Coosada AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Coosada AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Coosada AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Coosada home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Coosada AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Ideal Coosada Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Coosada AL.