Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Pick the Best One Near East Florence Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near East Florence AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right school? When looking for interior design schools, many potential students begin by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best choice just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are a number of other qualifications that you should weigh when comparing schools, such as accreditation and reputation. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit about the degree and training choices are available.
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Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in East Florence AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to 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 qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of 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 education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things 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 degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their East Florence AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design colleges 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 sure that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school needs to be within driving distance from your East Florence AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the school 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 accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of East Florence AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an excellent education, the East Florence AL school you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need 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 an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a large network of East Florence AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the East Florence AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the East Florence AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your East Florence home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near East Florence AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Best East Florence Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. It is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in East Florence Alabama.