Interior Designer Course
How to Pick the Right One Near Ozark Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Ozark AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. It's imperative that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Some people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The primary difference between the two is the amount of training required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Ozark AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with public or commercial areas, designers often focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Ozark AL interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new career in Ozark AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain 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 a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance 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 degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For students who to study in the convenience of their Ozark AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive 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 school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Ozark AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. 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 school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Ozark AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate 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 requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Ozark AL school you enroll in should also provide the suitable education 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? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession 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 place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Ozark AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Ozark AL colleges you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Ozark home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Ozark AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Ozark Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ozark Alabama.