Interior Designer Degree
How to Find the Best One Near Alexander City Alabama
So it’s time to start the process of selecting an interior design school near Alexander City AL now that you have made a career choice to study to be an interior designer. It's important 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 because interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the school you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each program you are considering prior to making your final choice it's vital that you carry out the proper research. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right school? When looking for interior design schools, many potential students begin by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. There are many other factors that you should weigh when comparing schools, such as accreditation and reputation. We will address those issues 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 talk a little bit about the degree and class alternatives are available.
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Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to start your new career in Alexander City AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty 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 primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Alexander City AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Alexander City AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national 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 a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. 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 training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Alexander City AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Alexander City AL college you choose should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Alexander City AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Alexander City AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Alexander City AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Alexander City home, go to the school and monitor a few 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 credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Alexander City AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Alexander City Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Alexander City Alabama.