Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Select the Best One Near Mobile Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Mobile AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. It's important that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing commercial or residential interiors. And because interior designers must be licensed in several states, the college you select should prep you to pass any required licensing test and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to evaluate and compare each college you are considering prior to making your final decision it's essential that you perform the appropriate due diligence. But exactly where do you start? When looking for interior design programs, the majority of students begin by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. There are various other considerations that you should evaluate when analyzing schools, for example reputation and accreditation. We will cover those issues and other vital 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 Design Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new profession in Mobile AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for 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 technical and creative facets of the trade needed 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 two year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Courses
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Mobile AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great option 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 a number of students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Mobile AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house 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. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior design school and program that you choose has been accredited by 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 undergone a rigorous assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Mobile AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Mobile AL college you enroll in should also furnish the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing 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 design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Mobile AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Mobile AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of support they offer. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Mobile AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Mobile home, visit the college 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 styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Mobile AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Mobile Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior design college is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. It is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mobile Alabama.