Interior Designer College
How to Find the Right One Near Albertville Alabama
So it’s time to begin the process of selecting an interior design school near Albertville AL once you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since interior designers must be licensed in several states, the school you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's very important you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right school? When looking for interior design programs, the majority of students begin by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. However, a school is not always the right option simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are many other qualifications that you should weigh when comparing schools, such as accreditation and reputation. We will cover those topics and other vital 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 about the degree and training options are offered.
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Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new career in Albertville AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Albertville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
When you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Albertville AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared 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 cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Albertville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Albertville AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing 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 college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Albertville AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Albertville AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Albertville AL colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Albertville home, go to the campus 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 philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Albertville AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Albertville Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. It is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Albertville Alabama.