How to Find an Interior Design Program Cottondale 35453
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Cottondale AL, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it’s essential that you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business in Cottondale AL as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes in Alabama. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a Cottondale designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to start your new profession. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in Cottondale as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment in Cottondale as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required 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 two year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree 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 mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Cottondale homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy 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 programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Cottondale home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It’s necessary to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Cottondale employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several states do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those states mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the school you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position in Cottondale. 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 an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they offer in 35453. Many of Alabama interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Cottondale home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out 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, make sure that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Cottondale, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Interior Design School Cottondale ALChoosing the ideal interior design college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer.