How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program Owens Cross Roads Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer college near Owens Cross Roads AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you begin? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the level of education 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 a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Owens Cross Roads AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui concepts, Owens Cross Roads AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Owens Cross Roads AL. Your selection will undoubtedly 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 decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment 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 technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Owens Cross Roads AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. 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 programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Owens Cross Roads AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional 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 an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Owens Cross Roads AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College 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, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Owens Cross Roads AL school you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Owens Cross Roads AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Owens Cross Roads AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program 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 Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Owens Cross Roads AL schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Owens Cross Roads home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask 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? Finally, make sure that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Owens Cross Roads 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, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Select the Best Owens Cross Roads Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Owens Cross Roads AL.