How to Find the Right Interior Design School Odenville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Odenville AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But where do you begin? Many future students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many 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 many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Odenville AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers must 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 concepts, Odenville AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Odenville AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions 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 components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance 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 usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Odenville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs 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 commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools 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 structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Odenville AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 verify 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 available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Odenville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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, two or more years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Odenville AL program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Odenville AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Odenville AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Odenville AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Odenville home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Odenville AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Odenville Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many points to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Odenville AL.