Interior Designer College
How to Choose the Right One Near Daphne Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of selecting an interior design school near Daphne AL once you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the college you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to analyze and compare each program you are looking at before you make your final selection it's very important that you perform the proper research. But just where do you begin? When looking for interior design programs, many potential students start by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit about the degree and class choices are offered.
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Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new profession in Daphne AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Daphne AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Daphne AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, 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 considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Daphne AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Daphne AL college you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges 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 sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Daphne AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Daphne AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Daphne AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Daphne home, go to the school and attend 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 philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Daphne AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Daphne Interior Design School
Picking the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Daphne Alabama.