How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program Ohatchee Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Ohatchee AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the appropriate 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 could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important issues when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Ohatchee AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically 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 specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality 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 banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Ohatchee AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new career in Ohatchee AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter 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) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain 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 cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree 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 training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Ohatchee AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical 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 added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Ohatchee AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design school 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). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm 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 requesting 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 schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Ohatchee AL school you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools 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 indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students 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 jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid offices for the Ohatchee AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Ohatchee AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Ohatchee home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to 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 alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Best Ohatchee Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior design program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. 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 ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ohatchee AL.