Interior Designer Course
How to Select the Best One Near Montgomery Alabama
So it’s time to start the process of selecting an interior design school near Montgomery AL once you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. It's important that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right program? A number of future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training choices are offered.
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Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to start your new profession in Montgomery AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of 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) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Montgomery AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a great solution 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 home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Montgomery AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior design program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding assessment of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Montgomery AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Montgomery AL program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication 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 substantial network of Montgomery AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Montgomery AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Montgomery AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Montgomery home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Montgomery AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Montgomery Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. It is still essential that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Montgomery Alabama.