Interior Designer School
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Ozark Alabama
So it’s time to start the task of selecting an interior design school near Ozark AL now that you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So in order to evaluate and compare each program you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision it's very important that you do the proper due diligence. But exactly where do you begin? When checking out interior design programs, the majority of students begin by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best option simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are various other considerations that you should weigh when reviewing schools, such as accreditation and reputation. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.
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Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between them is the amount of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Ozark AL may specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public areas, designers often 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 banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Ozark AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Ozark AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth 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 secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
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 alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic 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 a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges 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 option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Ozark AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to verify 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. 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, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Ozark AL college you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Ozark AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Ozark AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Ozark AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Ozark home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Ozark AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask 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 Ozark
Enroll in the Best Ozark Interior Design College
Picking the right interior design program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many things to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided 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 excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Ozark Alabama.
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