How to Find the Right Interior Design College Ohatchee Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Ohatchee AL, it's time to start 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 proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But where do you start? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The key distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Ohatchee AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are several 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 use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Ohatchee AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new profession in Ohatchee AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide 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 required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short 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 roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Ohatchee AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you pick 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 online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Ohatchee AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as 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 obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Ohatchee AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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 also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Ohatchee AL college you choose should also furnish the suitable instruction 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 School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Ohatchee AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Ohatchee AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small 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 Ohatchee AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Ohatchee home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Ohatchee AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Right Ohatchee Interior Design Program
Selecting the ideal interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ohatchee AL.