Interior Designer Degree
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Montgomery Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Montgomery AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. It's imperative 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 because interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the college you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to analyze and compare each college you are reviewing before you make your final choice it's crucial that you do the proper due diligence. But just how do you go about finding the right school? When looking for interior design programs, the majority of students start by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right option just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit about the degree and training alternatives are offered.
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Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to get the training needed to begin your new profession in Montgomery AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs 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 creative and technical components of the trade required 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 two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized 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. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Montgomery AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online schools may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Montgomery AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Montgomery AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Montgomery AL program you select should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a sizable network of Montgomery AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Montgomery AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Montgomery AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Montgomery home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Montgomery AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Montgomery Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several things to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Montgomery Alabama.