How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program Odenville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Odenville AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you do the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But just where do you start? A number of potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Odenville AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance 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. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Odenville AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to begin your new profession in Odenville AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Odenville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be 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 earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Odenville AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns 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 choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Odenville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Odenville AL college you enroll in should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Odenville AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Odenville AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention 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, go to the campus and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Odenville AL, make certain 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, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Right Odenville Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Odenville AL.