How to Pick an Interior Designer Course near Oxford Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Oxford AL, it’s time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it’s essential that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it’s crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you start? Some prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The main difference between them is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor’s or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Oxford AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the main concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Oxford AL interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.
Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new profession in Oxford AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor’s Degree. Bachelor’s degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master’s Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor’s Degree. Master’s Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
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, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Oxford AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent 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 laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Oxford AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking 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 factors that you should look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It’s essential to make sure that the interior design college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Oxford AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Oxford AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School’s Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Oxford AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Oxford AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Oxford AL colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Oxford home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Oxford AL, verify 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 process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Considering Attending Interior Design School in Oxford AL?
Oxford is a city in Calhoun and Talladega counties in the State of Alabama. The population was 21,348 at the 2010 census, an increase of 46.3% since the 2000 Census. Oxford is one of two principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Founded in the early 1850s, Oxford was the first city in Calhoun County to be incorporated, in 1852. The name "Oxford" was due to the presence of a narrow crossing of Chocolocco Creek that allowed farmers to ford cattle from one side of the creek to the other. Since 1970, Oxford has annexed large amounts of land to the south and west, including the communities of Coldwater and Bynum. In 1970, it was all in Calhoun County, but today it includes areas in Talladega County.
A smaller municipality, Hobson City, was once a part of Oxford. The area, then known as the Mooree Quarter, is one square mile, and is located north and west of Oxford, and south and west of Anniston. In the last years of the 19th century, according to tradition, in the course of political elections, a black man managed to be elected justice of the peace in Oxford. This being unacceptable to the city fathers, they appealed to the powers in the state capital, and an 'arrangement' was made. The city boundaries were redrawn, in similar fashion to a gerrymander, and the quarter was excluded, becoming a town unto itself. The new town became incorporated on August 16, 1899 as Hobson City, taking the name of a naval hero of the Spanish–American War. The intention was that the largely black population of this quarter would no longer skew the elections of the now almost exclusively white Oxford. Another result was the creation of only the second town in the United States (after Eatonville, Florida) with 100% black government, and an almost 100% black population (at least at first).
Find the Ideal Interior Design School near Oxford AL
Selecting the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to recieve an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Oxford AL.
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