Interior Designer College
How to Pick the Right One Near Bessemer Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Bessemer AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. It's imperative that you get the appropriate 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 a number of states, the college you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's vital you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But just where do you start? A number of prospective students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right option simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other important 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 alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new profession in Bessemer AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade 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 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Bessemer AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have busy 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 some students online schools may be the only option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus must be within driving distance from your Bessemer AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design program and school 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college 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 excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Bessemer AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Bessemer AL school you choose should also furnish the suitable 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, 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 trade and its students are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Bessemer AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Bessemer AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Bessemer AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Bessemer home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Bessemer AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Bessemer Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bessemer Alabama.