Interior Designer School
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Dothan Alabama
So it’s time to start the process of selecting an interior design school near Dothan AL now that you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. It's imperative that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing commercial or residential interiors. And because interior designers must be licensed in several states, the school you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's vital you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final selection. But exactly where do you begin? When looking for interior design programs, the majority of students begin by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best option simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training options are available.
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Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new profession in Dothan AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed 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 training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business 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 attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
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 needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Dothan AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Dothan AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Dothan AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Dothan AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Dothan AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Dothan AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Dothan AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Dothan home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Dothan AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Dothan Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Dothan Alabama.