How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design College near Cordova Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Cordova AL, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it’s essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s essential that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But just where do you begin? A number of potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.
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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between the two is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires 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 spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Cordova AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Cordova AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in Cordova AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of “Interior Designer”, many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For anyone wishing’ to attend classes in the comfort of their Cordova AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Cordova AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It’s imperative to make sure that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Cordova AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Cordova AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Cordova AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Cordova AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of support they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Cordova AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Cordova home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Cordova AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and 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.
Degree In Interior Design Cordova AL
Picking the ideal interior designer college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. You originally came upon this website because you had an interest in Degree In Interior Design and wanted more info on the topic College Of Interior Design. However it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cordova AL.
Other Alabama Designer Locations
Cordova is a city in Walker County, Alabama, U.S., formerly a textile mill town 35 miles (56 km) from Birmingham, AL. It was incorporated in 1897. At the 2010 census the population was 2,095, down from 2,423 in 2000.
Cordova was originally a settlement on the Mulberry Fork of the Black Warrior River called "Dent" or "Dent's Place." The city was dubbed "Cordova" by Captain Benjamin M. Long in 1859. He named the city after a city in Mexico where he was stationed during the Mexican–American War. Long himself opened a mercantile shop in the city and helped lure other industries into the city by providing the land necessary for their operations.
The company that had the biggest impact on the city was Nashua Manufacturing Company out of Nashua, New Hampshire, who brought in the Indian Head Textile Mills. The mill brought with it many jobs, and as was customary of the day, its own village. The company built over 100 houses in the city, many of which are still standing, and occupied today. The company even built the Indian Head school on the site of present-day "Cordova Health and Rehabilitation Center." The mill helped to bring two major railways to the city, which at the time helped connect the city to much of the surrounding area. The mill eventually became its own "town" and even had its own separate police force.
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