Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Birmingham Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Birmingham AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So in order to analyze and compare each college you are considering before you make your ultimate decision it's essential that you perform the appropriate due diligence. But where do you start? Some prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design schools 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. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in in more detail below.
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Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Birmingham AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Birmingham AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Birmingham AL program you enroll in should also provide the proper training 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 School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Birmingham AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Birmingham AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Birmingham AL programs you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Birmingham home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Birmingham AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Birmingham Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your training and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. It is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools 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 Birmingham Alabama.