Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Select the Best One Near Hueytown Alabama
So it’s time to start the task of selecting an interior design school near Hueytown AL once you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you obtain the proper training to put your talents to work. And because interior designers are licensed in several states, the school you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each school you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection it's vital that you do the appropriate due diligence. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right school? A number of potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design courses near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. There are many other factors that you should weigh when comparing schools, such as accreditation and reputation. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit about the degree and class options are available.
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Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to start your new career in Hueytown AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For students who to study in the convenience of their Hueytown AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, 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 learning. 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 perfect alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Hueytown AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. 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 an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Hueytown AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the Hueytown AL school you select should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Hueytown AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Hueytown AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Hueytown AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Hueytown home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Hueytown AL, confirm 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, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Hueytown Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. It is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Hueytown Alabama.