Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Choose the Best One Near Millbrook Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Millbrook AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. It's imperative 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 several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination as well. So in order to analyze and compare each program you are considering before you make your ultimate selection it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right program? When looking for interior design programs, many potential students start by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. However, 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 need to be considered also. We will address those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to start your new career in Millbrook AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short 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 field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
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 professional experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Courses
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Millbrook AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school 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 acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college has to be within driving distance from your Millbrook AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by 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 undergone a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Millbrook AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become 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 some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an exceptional education, the Millbrook AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, 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 could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Millbrook AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Millbrook AL colleges you are looking at and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Millbrook AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Millbrook home, visit the school and monitor 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 approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Millbrook AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Millbrook Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Millbrook Alabama.