Interior Designer Degree
How to Pick the Right One Near Bessemer Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of choosing an interior design school near Bessemer AL now that you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection. But just how do you approach enrolling in the right school? When checking out interior design schools, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are important variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. There are a number of other factors that you should weigh when analyzing schools, for example reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit about the degree and training choices are offered.
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Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new profession in Bessemer AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring 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 improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Bessemer AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 distance or online education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Bessemer AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from 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). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Bessemer AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Bessemer AL school you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, find out 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 students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Bessemer AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Bessemer AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
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 little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Bessemer AL colleges you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Bessemer home, go to the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Bessemer AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Bessemer Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior designer college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Bessemer Alabama.