How to Find the Right Interior Design College Ohatchee Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Ohatchee AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The key difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Ohatchee AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas 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 various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Ohatchee AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Ohatchee AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components 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 position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Ohatchee AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college 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 online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Ohatchee AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Ohatchee AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep 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 school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Ohatchee AL college you enroll in 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 working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Ohatchee AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Ohatchee AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Ohatchee AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Ohatchee home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Ohatchee AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Ohatchee Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations 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 quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ohatchee AL.