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How to Find the Right Interior Design Degree Program Cordova Alabama

Cordova Alabama elegant interior designed custom bathroomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Cordova 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 interiors, it's essential that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask 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 options are offered.

Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

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Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Cordova AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Cordova AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to launch your new profession in Cordova AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam 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 provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job 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 offer choices 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. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Degree Programs

For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Cordova AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy 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 colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Programs

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Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Cordova AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design college and program that you enroll in 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Cordova AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate 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 several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Cordova AL program you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements 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 designer certification, you will no doubt need some assistance 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 higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Cordova AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Cordova AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Cordova AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Cordova home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Cordova AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Learn More About Top Cordova Interior Design Programs

Select the Best Cordova Interior Design College

Choosing the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cordova AL.