Interior Designer Course
How to Pick the Right One Near Jacksonville Alabama
So it’s time to begin the process of picking an interior design school near Jacksonville AL once you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. It's important that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the college you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing test and provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each college you are reviewing before you make your ultimate choice it's very important that you carry out the proper due diligence. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right program? When checking out interior design programs, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best option simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are various other factors that you should evaluate when reviewing schools, for instance accreditation and reputation. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training choices are offered.
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Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Jacksonville AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate 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 exam.
Interior Design Online Classes
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Jacksonville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Jacksonville AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer school and program 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Jacksonville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Jacksonville AL college you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a large network of Jacksonville AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Jacksonville AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Jacksonville AL schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Jacksonville home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Jacksonville AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Jacksonville Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior designer school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Jacksonville Alabama.