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How to Pick the Best Interior Design Course near Oneonta Alabama

Oneonta Alabama interior designed living roomOnce you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design 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 residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

Interior Decoration and Interior Design

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Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential areas attractive as well as functional. On various 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 basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality 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 focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Oneonta AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.

Interior Design Degree Options

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There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new career in Oneonta AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree 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 training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order 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, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For students who to study in the comfort of their Oneonta AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain 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 environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Oneonta AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. 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 schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college 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 training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Oneonta AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Oneonta AL college you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing 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 probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Oneonta AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Oneonta AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Oneonta AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Oneonta home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Oneonta AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Learn More About Online Interior Design Schools

Enroll in the Right Oneonta Interior Design College

Choosing the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Oneonta Alabama.