How to Find the Right Interior Design College Odenville Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Odenville AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you perform the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? Many future students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary 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 skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Odenville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Odenville AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new profession in Odenville AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options 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. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Odenville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient 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 expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs 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 setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Odenville AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing 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 also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of 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 subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation 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 agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Odenville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several 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 some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Odenville AL college you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Odenville AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Odenville AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of support they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Odenville AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Odenville home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Odenville AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Ideal Odenville Interior Design Program
Picking the right interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter 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 course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. 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 colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Odenville AL.