How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Course near Oneonta Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Oneonta AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will cover those topics and other important 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 alternatives are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Oneonta AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal 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 banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Oneonta AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession in Oneonta AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief 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 roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain 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 facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Oneonta AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Oneonta AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you choose 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Oneonta AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Oneonta AL college you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask 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 field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Oneonta AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Oneonta AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? 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. Find out from the Oneonta AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Oneonta home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Oneonta AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Oneonta Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior designer program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. However it is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Oneonta Alabama.