Interior Designer Program
How to Find the Right One Near Homewood Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Homewood AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And because interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the school you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing test and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to analyze and compare each college you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision it's crucial that you perform the proper due diligence. But just how do you undertake finding the right school? Some future students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. 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 first, let's cover a little bit about the degree and training alternatives are available.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN CAREER BELOW!
Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new career in Homewood AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at a number of 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 supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized 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 degrees are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college 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 mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Homewood AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be an excellent alternative 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 convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you select 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 online or distance education. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Homewood AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Homewood AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Homewood AL school you select should also furnish the suitable instruction 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a sizable network of Homewood AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Homewood AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Homewood AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Homewood home, visit the school and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Homewood AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Homewood Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior designer college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Homewood Alabama.