How to Select the Right Interior Design College near Oneonta Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Oneonta AL, it's time to begin 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 natural abilities to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But where do you start? Some 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 relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be considered as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Oneonta AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms 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 consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Oneonta AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new career in Oneonta AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations 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 finish and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional 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 field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Oneonta AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Oneonta AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may 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 nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. 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 undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program 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 excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Oneonta AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Oneonta AL college you choose should also furnish the proper education 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? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Oneonta AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Oneonta AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Oneonta AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Oneonta home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important 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 attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose in the Right Oneonta Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior design college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Oneonta Alabama.