How to Find an Interior Designer Course 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. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it’s important that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it’s very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? Some prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let’s talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The main difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator in Oxford AL if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers in Oxford AL often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial areas, Oxford AL designers normally concentrate predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary concern.
There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design in Oxford AL that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, interior designers utilize a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new career. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available near Oxford AL.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at many Oxford AL area community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five 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, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only option if no Oxford AL area interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a recognized 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 online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your Oxford AL area college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within commuting distance from your residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It’s essential to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. 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 undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Oxford AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep 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) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those states calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Oxford AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the state where you will be employed.
What is the College’s Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Oxford AL area business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of support they provide. Many of Oxford AL area interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Oxford AL programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the Oxford AL interior design school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Pick the Best Interior Designer College near Oxford AlabamaSelecting the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to recieve an advanced education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. However it is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer.
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