Interior Designer Program
How to Find the Best One Near Hartselle Alabama
So it’s time to start the task of picking an interior design school near Hartselle AL now that you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. It's important that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So in order to evaluate and compare each college you are considering prior to making your final selection it's crucial that you carry out the proper due diligence. But exactly where do you begin? A number of potential students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best choice just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in 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 Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training necessary to start your new profession in Hartselle AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated 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 decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require 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 examination.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Hartselle AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a great option 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 practical for the student. For some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Hartselle AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Hartselle AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate 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 some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an exceptional education, the Hartselle AL college you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Hartselle AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Hartselle AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? 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 Hartselle AL colleges you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Hartselle home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask 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? Finally, confirm that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Hartselle AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Hartselle Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer program is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several points to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hartselle Alabama.