Interior Designer School
How to Find the Right One Near Gardendale Alabama
So it’s time to start the task of selecting an interior design school near Gardendale AL now that you have made a career choice to study to be an interior designer. It's important that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So in order to analyze and compare each college you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice it's vital that you do the appropriate research. But exactly where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. 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 must be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training options are offered.
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Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new profession in Gardendale AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects 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 job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring a 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. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For individuals who wish to study 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 employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Gardendale AL residence. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. 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 assessment of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Gardendale AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers become 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 college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Gardendale AL school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training 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 College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Gardendale AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Gardendale AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they provide. A number of interior design programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Gardendale AL colleges you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Gardendale home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Gardendale AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Gardendale Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior designer program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Gardendale Alabama.