How to Pick the Right Interior Design Program Cowarts Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Cowarts AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But just where do you start? Many future students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Cowarts AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often 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 particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are several areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Cowarts AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new profession in Cowarts AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated 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 required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate 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 specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ 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 some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Cowarts AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive 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 environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Cowarts AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by 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 gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college 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 might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Cowarts AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require 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 mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Cowarts AL program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges 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 indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Cowarts AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Cowarts AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors 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 large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Cowarts AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Cowarts home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Cowarts AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Ideal Cowarts Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior design school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cowarts AL.