Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Select the Right One Near Dixiana Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Dixiana AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital you do the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But just where do you begin? When checking out interior design programs, the majority of students begin by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. There are several other considerations that you should weigh when analyzing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training options are offered.
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Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new career in Dixiana AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Dixiana AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Dixiana AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following 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 ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by 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 gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Dixiana AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Dixiana AL school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Dixiana AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Dixiana AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Dixiana AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Dixiana home, go to the school 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 styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you choose provides 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 at night or on weekends near Dixiana AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Dixiana Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior design school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Dixiana Alabama.