How to Enroll in the Right Interior Design School near Opp Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Opp AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask 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 training alternatives are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Opp AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Opp AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to start your new profession in Opp AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth 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 graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Opp AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Opp AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. 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 subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Opp AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Opp AL program you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Opp AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Opp AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Opp AL colleges you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Opp home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Opp AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Opp Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior design school is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Opp Alabama.