Interior Designer Degree
How to Choose the Right One Near Hartselle Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Hartselle AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial you do the appropriate research in order to evaluate and compare each program that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But just how do you undertake finding the right school? A number of potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right choice just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are a number of other factors that you should weigh when comparing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will cover those issues and other crucial 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 alternatives are available.
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Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new career in Hartselle AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Hartselle AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive 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 structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus has to be within commuting distance from your Hartselle AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Hartselle AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an excellent education, the Hartselle AL school you select should also provide the suitable 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 earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. 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 high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a sizable network of Hartselle AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Hartselle AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Hartselle AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Hartselle home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Hartselle AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Hartselle Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still important that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hartselle Alabama.