Interior Designer Program
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Mobile Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Mobile AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. It's imperative 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 since interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the school you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's vital you perform the proper research in order to evaluate and compare each college that you are considering before you make your final choice. But just how do you approach finding the right program? Some prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. There are many other factors that you should evaluate when comparing schools, for example reputation and accreditation. We will address those topics and other crucial 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 training options are offered.
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Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to start your new career in Mobile AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be 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 covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed 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 two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance 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 degree 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, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Courses
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Mobile AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the program you select 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Mobile AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their instructors and programs. 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Mobile AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several 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 school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an outstanding education, the Mobile AL college you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Mobile AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Mobile AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Mobile AL schools you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Mobile home, visit the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and find out 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, confirm that the interior design program you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Mobile AL, verify that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Mobile Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior design college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mobile Alabama.