How to Choose an Interior Designer Program near Cottondale Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer school near Cottondale AL, it’s time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s crucial that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? Some potential students will begin their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 class choices are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The main distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Cottondale AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Cottondale AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new career in Cottondale AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Cottondale AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a great alternative 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 laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. 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 alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Cottondale AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s imperative to verify 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 demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Cottondale AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Cottondale AL school you select should also provide 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 Program’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Cottondale AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Cottondale AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Cottondale AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Cottondale home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Cottondale AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Cottondale AL?
Richard Price Rummonds
Richard Price Rummonds (also known as Richard-Gabriel Price Rummonds), one of the foremost handpress printers of the late twentieth century, is also an author, publisher, typographer, and historian of printing. His two books on nineteenth-century printing, Printing on the Iron Handpress and Nineteenth-Century Printing Practices and the Iron Handpress, comprehensively describe the history, operation and merits of the iron handpress.
Born on April 26, 1931, in Long Beach, California, Rummonds was raised in Sacramento, California. He attended Syracuse University in 1949–1950, in the School of Fine Arts, with the intention of majoring in set and costume design and the University of California at Berkeley intermittently between 1950 and 1954, where he majored in English and Creative Writing. During this period he was on the staff of Occident, the student literary magazine, of which he became the editor for the Spring 1954 issue.
Rummonds began printing in Quito, Ecuador in 1966, using the Plain Wrapper Press imprint. His first book was a selection of his own poems. The following year in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he printed a book of his short stories.
Find the Best Interior Design School near Cottondale AL
Picking the right interior design school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several things to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cottondale AL.
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