Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Pick the Best One Near Decatur Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Decatur AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. It's imperative that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And because interior designers must be licensed in several states, the college you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to evaluate and compare each college you are considering before you make your ultimate selection it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate due diligence. But just how do you undertake finding the right program? When checking out interior design schools, many potential students start by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are key issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. There are various other considerations that you should evaluate when reviewing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching in more detail below.
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Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Decatur AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Decatur AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Decatur AL college you select should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Decatur AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Decatur AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Decatur AL colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Decatur home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly 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 Decatur AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Decatur Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. 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 programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Decatur Alabama.