If you are thinking of studying interior design, there are an overwhelming number of course providers out there. You can go the traditional route and study at a local college, or head off to university. But increasingly, people are realising the potential of an online interior design course to help get them qualified.
With much lower overheads, online interior design schools are able to offer prices that brick and mortar schools and colleges can only dream of. After all, paying for a Chelsea Harbourside location comes at a pretty penny.
But with online studying comes a few worries:
Is it as good quality as a face to face course?
What will future employers think?
Will it say that I studied online on my certificate?
So, let's address these questions:
In all honesty, not all online interior design courses In the UK are the same.
Just because a school offers a course, doesn't mean that this is the same as a qualification. Quite frankly, anyone can start a website and offer courses in interior design, whether they have oodles of experience or none whatsoever.
And of course the problem with that, is that you don't know whether you are getting an education which is excellent quality, or not at all.
With a course, there is no quality control, no standardisation, and no formal qualification for your hard work at the end.
And so of course you need to be aware of exactly what you are signing up for.
But don't worry, I've got you covered!
1. All qualifications have to be approved by the UK government's regulatory body for qualifications, Ofqual. These are the guys that approve all UK qualifications: GCSEs, A Levels, diplomas and so on. If it's not registered with Ofqual, then it's not a "real" qualification.
2. You can search for the name of your qualification using the search function on the register, which you can access >here<.
If your qualification isn't listed here, it 'aint real!
3. At the beginning of the qualification name, there are some letters (OCNLR or AIM). These are the awarding bodies, the body who Ofqual have approved to provide their qualification.
4. You can also search the register for providers (schools and colleges) too, using the organisation filter.
If your provider doesn't appear, don't panic. This doesn't necessarily mean they are not registered. That is because your school, college or university are probably offering the qualification through an Awarding Body.
You remember when you got your GCSE or O levels? You will have studied with an exam board (like OCR or Edexcel or MEG for example). An awarding body is just like and exam board.
If you are unsure, ask your school, university or college which awardig body they use, and then check the register.
For example, at The Home Design School (The Interior Designers Hub's school), our qualifications are accredited through the AIM awarding body:
If your organisation isn't listed here, then beware!
Ofqual and the Awarding Body work with the schools, colleges and universities to make sure that the qualifications meet a consistent standard across the country. So a student studying the level 3 certificate in interior design skills at The National Design Academy will be getting the same standard of education as someone studying with a private training provider online.
I can't honestly answer for other organisations, but when you study with The Home Design School there is nothing on your certificate to indicate that the course was taken online.
Your certificate simply states the name of your qualification.
This is one of those questions that is nigh on impossible to answer because there will be as many different opinions out there as options for study.
For sure, there will be some dinosaur employers who will only value a face to face taught qualification, who believe that studying online is inferior.
But when you consider that interior design is an industry at the cutting edge of technology (3D visualisations anyone?) it's hard to think that anyone except for really out-of-touch employers are going to be dismissive of training because it was provided in the digital space. In fact, most employers recognise that people often study online whilst working and managing other commitments, which shows a wealth of skills and competencies in itself!
And of course, your education is only one part of what makes you a valuable candidate at interview. Your knowledge, your portfolio and your interpersonal skills.
Studying online is the future, guys, so if you're ready to make the leap, or want to find out more, check out our courses page and up-skill yourself with us.