How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Course Odenville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer school near Odenville AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final decision. But just where do you begin? Some prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Any person can work 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 requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Odenville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Odenville AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new profession in Odenville AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Classes
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Odenville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient 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 added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Odenville AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary 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 respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might 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 Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get 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 school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Odenville AL program you select should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Odenville AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Odenville AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Odenville AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Odenville home, visit the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with some 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Odenville AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Ideal Odenville Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Odenville AL.