Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Find the Best One Near Athens Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Athens AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. It's imperative that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But exactly where do you start? A number of future students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best option simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered as well. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing in more detail below.
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What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Athens AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry 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 instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Athens AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate 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, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Athens AL college you choose should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Athens AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Athens AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Athens AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Athens home, visit 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 approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Athens AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Athens Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are several things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review 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 Athens Alabama.