Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Find the Right One Near Dothan Alabama
So it’s time to begin the process of picking an interior design school near Dothan AL once you have made a career choice to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But exactly where do you begin? When checking out interior design programs, the majority of students begin by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit about the degree and training options are offered.
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Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in Dothan AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief 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 approximately two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree 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 attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Dothan AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop 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 additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Dothan AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Dothan AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate 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 school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Dothan AL program you select should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing 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 designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a large network of Dothan AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Dothan AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative 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 aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Dothan AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Dothan home, visit the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Dothan AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Dothan Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college 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 recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Dothan Alabama.