Interior Designer School
How to Choose the Right One Near East Florence Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near East Florence AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the school you select should prep you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's vital you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right program? When checking out interior design schools, the majority of students start by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. However, a school is not always the best option just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are various other qualifications that you should evaluate when comparing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit about the degree and training choices are offered.
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Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career in East Florence AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available 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 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives 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 mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their East Florence AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your East Florence AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional 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 gone through a demanding evaluation 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 school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many East Florence AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate 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 calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an excellent education, the East Florence AL program you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a sizable network of East Florence AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the East Florence AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the East Florence AL schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your East Florence home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask 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? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near East Florence AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right East Florence Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in East Florence Alabama.