How to Choose an Interior Designer College Cordova 35550
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Cordova AL, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s essential that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s vital that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? Some future students will launch their research by looking for schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Any person can do business in Cordova AL as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction in Alabama. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a Cordova designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in Cordova in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide 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 required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs in Cordova as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position in Alabama as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For students who to study in the comfort of their Cordova homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Cordova home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s important to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national 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 an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Cordova employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some states do mandate 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, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the school you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position in Cordova. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they offer in 35550. Many of Alabama interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Cordova home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Cordova, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Ideal Interior Designer School Cordova ALChoosing the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to recieve an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare colleges 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.