How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer School Cowarts Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Cowarts AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are considering before you make your final decision. But just where do you begin? Some prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other vital 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 choices are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business 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 necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Cowarts AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Cowarts AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new profession in Cowarts AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted 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 mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate 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.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Cowarts AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Cowarts AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Cowarts AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Cowarts AL school you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Cowarts AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Cowarts AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Cowarts AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Cowarts home, go to the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Cowarts AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Best Cowarts Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cowarts AL.