Interior Designer Course
How to Pick the Best One Near Florence Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of picking an interior design school near Florence AL now that you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. It's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And because interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the school you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing test and provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's vital you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your final choice. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right program? When checking out interior design programs, many potential students start by targeting the ones 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. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask 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 options are offered.
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Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Florence AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree 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 training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such 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 mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Courses
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Florence AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded 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 online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Florence AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Florence AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require 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 calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Florence AL program you choose should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Florence AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Florence AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Florence AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Florence home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with a few students and find out 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, make sure that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Florence AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Florence Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior design school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Florence Alabama.