Interior Designer School
How to Find the Right One Near Enterprise Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of choosing an interior design school near Enterprise AL once you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And because 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 very important you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you begin? When looking for interior design schools, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best choice simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training alternatives are offered.
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Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new career in Enterprise AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets 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 job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Enterprise AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Enterprise AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Enterprise AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Enterprise AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Enterprise AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Enterprise AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Enterprise AL programs you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Enterprise home, visit the college and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Enterprise AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Enterprise Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several points to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. It is still important that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Enterprise Alabama.