Interior Designer Degree
How to Find the Right One Near Montgomery Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of selecting an interior design school near Montgomery AL now that you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. It's imperative that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the school you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing test and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's vital you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your ultimate selection. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right school? Many future students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking 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 class choices are available.
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Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training required to start your new career in Montgomery AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide 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 minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Montgomery AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Montgomery AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative 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 industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation 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 establish that the reputation of the school 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 offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Montgomery AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Montgomery AL school you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam 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? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Montgomery AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Montgomery AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Montgomery AL colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Montgomery home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Montgomery AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Montgomery Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer program is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are many things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. It is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Montgomery Alabama.