Interior Designer College
How to Pick the Best One Near Huntsville Alabama
So it’s time to start the task of choosing an interior design school near Huntsville AL now that you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And because interior designers are licensed in several states, the college you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each program you are looking at before you make your ultimate selection it's vital that you do the proper research. But where do you begin? When checking out interior design schools, many potential students begin by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. However, 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 several other factors that you should weigh when reviewing schools, for instance accreditation and reputation. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit about the degree and class options are offered.
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Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training required to start your new profession in Huntsville AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered 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 level of training required to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business required 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 training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Huntsville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools 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 commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs 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 environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Huntsville AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college 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 also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Huntsville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Huntsville AL school you select should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at 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 school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Huntsville AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Huntsville AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Huntsville AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Huntsville home, go to the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Huntsville AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Learn More About How to Become an Interior Designer in Huntsville
Choose the Best Huntsville Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Huntsville Alabama.
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