Interior Designer Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Dothan Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of choosing an interior design school near Dothan AL now that you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. It's important that you get the appropriate 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 a number of states, the school you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing test and provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's very important you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you start? Many future students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit about the degree and class alternatives are offered.
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Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new career in Dothan AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential 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 design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Courses
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Dothan AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Dothan AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Dothan AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers get 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 several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Dothan AL college you select should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Dothan AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Dothan AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Dothan AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Dothan home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Dothan AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Dothan Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Dothan Alabama.