Interior Designer Degree
How to Find the Right One Near Millbrook Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Millbrook AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your talents to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital you carry out the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But just how do you undertake finding the right program? When checking out interior design schools, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are key factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. There are various other factors that you should evaluate when comparing schools, for example reputation and accreditation. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and class options are available.
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Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to start your new career in Millbrook AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in 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 qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for 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 cover the creative and technical components of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized 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 degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Millbrook AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Millbrook AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. 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 school and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Millbrook AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from providing an outstanding education, the Millbrook AL program you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance 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 indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Millbrook AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Millbrook AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Millbrook AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Millbrook home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Millbrook AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Millbrook Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific 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 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 respected in the profession. It is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Millbrook Alabama.