Interior Designer School
How to Find the Best One Near Hoover Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Hoover AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. It's important that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a knack for designing commercial or residential interiors. And because interior designers must be licensed in several states, the school you select should prep you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's crucial you perform the proper research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But where do you start? Many prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. There are various other factors that you should evaluate when comparing schools, for example accreditation and reputation. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit about the degree and training options are available.
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Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to launch your new career in Hoover AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt 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 a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 provide advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Classes
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Hoover AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn 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 setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Hoover AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing 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 factors that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers 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 agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Hoover AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Hoover AL school you select should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out 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 profession and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a significant network of Hoover AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Hoover AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Hoover AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Hoover home, visit the campus and sit in on a couple of 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 credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer program you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Hoover AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Hoover Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating 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 major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. It is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hoover Alabama.