Interior Designer Course
How to Select the Best One Near Fairhope Alabama
So it’s time to begin the process of choosing an interior design school near Fairhope AL once you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final choice. But just how do you approach enrolling in the right school? When checking out interior design programs, many potential students start by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right choice simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking 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 options are available.
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Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new career in Fairhope AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Fairhope AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed 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 many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Fairhope AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Fairhope AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require 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 program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Fairhope AL college you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Fairhope AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Fairhope AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Fairhope AL programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Fairhope home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fairhope AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Fairhope Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school 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 acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Fairhope Alabama.