How to Select the Right Interior Design College Coosada Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Coosada AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since a number of 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 vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas 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 Coosada AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers normally focus predominantly 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 banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Coosada AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new career in Coosada AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically 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 facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally 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 called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For students who to study in the convenience of their Coosada AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Coosada AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Coosada AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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 calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Coosada AL program you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Coosada AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Coosada AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate 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 Coosada AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Coosada home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Coosada AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Find the Right Coosada Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Coosada AL.