How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer College Odenville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Odenville AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in 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 options are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Odenville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might 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 lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Odenville AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Training Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new profession in Odenville AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required 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 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order 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 professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Odenville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, 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 distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Odenville AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in 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). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Odenville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Odenville AL program you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Odenville AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Odenville AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Odenville AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Odenville home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Odenville AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Odenville Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Odenville AL.