Interior Designer Degree
How to Pick the Right One Near Millbrook Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Millbrook AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's essential that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And because interior designers must be licensed in several states, the college you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each school you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research. But just how do you undertake finding the right program? A number of prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit about the degree and class options are available.
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Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training required to start your new career in Millbrook AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level employment 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 technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and use 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 required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Millbrook AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of 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 cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Millbrook AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you assess and ultimately pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Millbrook AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program 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) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an excellent education, the Millbrook AL school you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a substantial network of Millbrook AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Millbrook AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Millbrook AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Millbrook home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Millbrook AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Millbrook Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Millbrook Alabama.