Interior Designer School
How to Select the Best One Near Ozark Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of choosing an interior design school near Ozark AL now that you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your skills to work. And because interior designers must be licensed in several states, the college you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing test and provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each college you are looking at before you make your final choice it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research. But just how do you undertake finding the right program? When checking out interior design schools, the majority of students begin by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. There are several other considerations that you should weigh when reviewing schools, such as accreditation and reputation. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are available.
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Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living areas functional as well as attractive. On various projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Ozark AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial areas, designers frequently focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. Designers need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Ozark AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career in Ozark AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several 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 level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Ozark AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending 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 schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make 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 colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Ozark AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important 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 highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Ozark AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several 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 school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Ozark AL college you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out 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 trade and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the school has a large network of Ozark AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Ozark AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Ozark AL programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Ozark home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. While there 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Ozark AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Find Out More About How to Become an Interior Designer in Ozark
Enroll in the Right Ozark Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ozark Alabama.
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