Interior Designer School
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Opelika Alabama
So it’s time to start the process of picking an interior design school near Opelika AL now that you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the school you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each college you are looking at prior to making your final selection it's crucial that you do the appropriate due diligence. But just how do you go about finding the right program? When checking out interior design programs, the majority of students start by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. There are a number of other qualifications that you should weigh when analyzing schools, for example reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary distinction between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Opelika AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Opelika AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new career in Opelika AL. Your choice will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options 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 mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Courses
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Opelika AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Opelika AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by 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 an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Opelika AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Opelika AL program you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination 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? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Opelika AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Opelika AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? 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 Opelika AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Opelika home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Opelika AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Find Out More About How to Become an Interior Designer in Opelika
Enroll in the Best Opelika Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior designer program is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Opelika Alabama.
Opelika Interior Design Colleges | Opelika Interior Design Classes