How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Course Mount Olive Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Mount Olive 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 essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of potential students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 alternatives are offered.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key distinction between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Mount Olive AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently 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 kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui concepts, Mount Olive AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new profession in Mount Olive AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training 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 positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary 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 require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Schools
For students who to study in the convenience of their Mount Olive AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs 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 college may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Mount Olive AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Mount Olive AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Mount Olive AL program you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Mount Olive AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Mount Olive AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Mount Olive AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Mount Olive home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Mount Olive AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Mount Olive Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific 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 points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mount Olive AL.