Interior Designer Program
How to Pick the Best One Near Jacksonville Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of picking an interior design school near Jacksonville AL now that you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you obtain the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since interior designers must be licensed in several states, the college you select should prep you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's vital you perform the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right school? When checking out interior design schools, the majority of students start by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right option just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit about the degree and class choices are available.
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Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to begin your new career in Jacksonville AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student 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 attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the comfort of their Jacksonville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic 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 a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you choose 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 education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Jacksonville AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding 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 recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Jacksonville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides furnishing an excellent education, the Jacksonville AL program you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Jacksonville AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Jacksonville AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Jacksonville AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Jacksonville home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Jacksonville AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Jacksonville Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior design program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. It is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Jacksonville Alabama.