Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Select the Right One Near Gardendale Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Gardendale AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. It's important that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the college you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each college you are looking at prior to making your final choice it's essential that you perform the proper research. But just how do you undertake finding the right school? When looking for interior design programs, many potential students begin by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and class alternatives are available.
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Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new profession in Gardendale AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit 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) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Gardendale AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses 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 programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Gardendale AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs 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 College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Gardendale AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Gardendale AL college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Gardendale AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Gardendale AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Gardendale AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Gardendale home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Gardendale AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Gardendale Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Gardendale Alabama.