How to Find the Right Interior Designer College Ohatchee Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Ohatchee 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 essential that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But just where do you begin? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, 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
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key difference between them is the level of training required. Any person 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 numerous 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 spaces attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Ohatchee AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. 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 may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Ohatchee AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new career in Ohatchee AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation 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 education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student 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 achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree 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 require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For students who to study in the comfort of their Ohatchee AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline 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.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your Ohatchee AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Ohatchee AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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 several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Ohatchee AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements 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 design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Ohatchee AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Ohatchee AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Ohatchee AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Ohatchee home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Ohatchee AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Pick the Ideal Ohatchee Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ohatchee AL.