Interior Designer Course
How to Find the Best One Near Alabaster Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of selecting an interior design school near Alabaster AL once you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. It's imperative that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the college you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's essential you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final selection. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right program? Some future students will begin their research by looking for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. There are many other considerations that you should weigh when reviewing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit about the degree and class alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to begin your new career in Alabaster AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Alabaster AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Alabaster AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Alabaster AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Alabaster AL program you select should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, 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 regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Alabaster AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Alabaster AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big 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 Alabaster AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Alabaster home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Alabaster AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Alabaster Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many points to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Alabaster Alabama.