How to Find the Right Interior Designer Course Mount Olive Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Mount Olive AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you start? A number of potential students will kick off 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 are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Mount Olive AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.
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 produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Mount Olive AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Mount Olive AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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 required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually 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 schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For students who to study in the comfort of their Mount Olive AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working 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 only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added 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 recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Mount Olive AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. 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 an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Mount Olive AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate 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, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Mount Olive AL school you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing 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 undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Mount Olive AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Mount Olive AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Mount Olive AL programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Mount Olive 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 styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Mount Olive AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Right Mount Olive Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mount Olive AL.