Interior Designer Course
How to Find the Best One Near Oxford Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Oxford AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. It's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the school you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to analyze and compare each college you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection it's very important that you carry out the proper due diligence. But exactly where do you begin? A number of future students will start their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. There are several other considerations that you should evaluate when reviewing schools, such as accreditation and reputation. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Oxford AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently 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, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must 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, Oxford AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new profession in Oxford AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits 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 approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets 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 job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Oxford AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, 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 dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Oxford AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting 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 need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Oxford AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Oxford AL college you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Oxford AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Oxford AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Oxford AL programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Oxford home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Oxford AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Find Out More About How to Become an Interior Designer in Oxford
Enroll in the Best Oxford Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Oxford Alabama.
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