Interior Designer College
How to Choose the Best One Near Mobile Alabama
So it’s time to start the task of selecting an interior design school near Mobile AL now that you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam also. So in order to evaluate and compare each college you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision it's vital that you carry out the proper due diligence. But just how do you go about finding the right school? A number of potential students will start their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. 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 must be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training options are available.
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Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new career in Mobile AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed 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 employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job 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 options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Mobile AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn 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 setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Mobile AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Mobile AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get 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 some of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Mobile AL college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a significant network of Mobile AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Mobile AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Mobile AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Mobile home, go to the college and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Mobile AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Mobile Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are a number of factors to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mobile Alabama.