Interior Designer Degree
How to Pick the Best One Near Jasper Alabama
So it’s time to begin the process of picking an interior design school near Jasper AL now that you have made a career decision to study to be 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 residential or commercial interiors. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial you do the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final selection. But just where do you begin? When looking for interior design schools, the majority of students begin by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit about the degree and class options are offered.
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Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to begin your new profession in Jasper AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be 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 several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short 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 field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the 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. Doctorate programs are largely 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.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Jasper AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school 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 receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Jasper AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues 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 reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior design program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Jasper AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Jasper AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Jasper AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Jasper AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Jasper AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Jasper home, go to the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Jasper AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Jasper Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer school is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a program, course or school. 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 analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Jasper Alabama.