Interior Designer College
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Huntsville Alabama
So it’s time to start the task of picking an interior design school near Huntsville AL once you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. It's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a knack for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So in order to evaluate and compare each college you are considering before you make your final decision it's vital that you do the proper due diligence. But just how do you approach enrolling in the right school? When looking for interior design programs, the majority of students start by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the cheapest 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. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit about the degree and training options are offered.
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Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new profession in Huntsville AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized 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 the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Huntsville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. 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 attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Huntsville AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose 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 earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Huntsville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Huntsville AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Huntsville AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Huntsville AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Huntsville AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Huntsville home, go to the campus and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Huntsville AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Huntsville Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to think about before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Huntsville Alabama.