Interior Designer Degree
How to Pick the Right One Near Albertville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Albertville AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. It's important that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And because interior designers are licensed in several states, the school you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's essential you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right school? Many potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. However, a school is not always the right option just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and class choices are available.
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Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new career in Albertville AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally 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 professional experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Albertville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical 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. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within driving distance from your Albertville AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their teachers 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 organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Albertville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Albertville AL program 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 working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Albertville AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Albertville AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? 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. Ask the Albertville AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Albertville home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Albertville AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Albertville Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Albertville Alabama.