How to Find an Interior Designer Degree Program near Oakman Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Oakman AL, it’s time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it’s essential that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it’s crucial that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? Some prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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.
Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration
Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The primary distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor’s Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Oakman AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including 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 carpeting and wall paper to integrating Feng shui principles, Oakman AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new career in Oakman AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally 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 schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For anyone wishing’ to study in the comfort of their Oakman AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. 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 colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Oakman AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s imperative to make sure that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. 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 applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Oakman AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Oakman AL college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a large network of Oakman AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Oakman AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate 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 Oakman AL schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Oakman home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Oakman AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Oakman AL?
Oakman is a town in Walker County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 789, down from 944 in 2000. Initially named Day (or Day's) Gap, it was renamed Oakman and incorporated in 1895.
As of the census of 2000, there were 944 people, 386 households, and 265 families residing in the town. The population density was 303.1 people per square mile (117.2/km²). There were 449 housing units at an average density of 144.1 per square mile (55.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 79.66% White, 19.60% Black or African American, and 0.74% from two or more races. 0.74% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 386 households out of which 34.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.9% were married couples living together, 16.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% were non-families. 28.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.02.
Select the Right Interior Design School near Oakman AL
Choosing the ideal interior designer school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several points to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Oakman AL.
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