Interior Designer Degree
How to Choose the Right One Near Moody Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Moody AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you obtain the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since interior designers are licensed in several states, the college you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing test and provide the necessary training for your specialty. So it's very important you carry out the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. However, a school is not always the best option just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training options are available.
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Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training required to launch your new career in Moody AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs 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 technical and creative aspects of the trade needed 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 two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally 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 schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Moody AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance 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 ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Moody AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently select the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation 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 agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Moody AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Moody AL college you select should also provide the proper education 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 considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a substantial network of Moody AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Moody AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Moody AL programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Moody home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Moody AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Moody Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Moody Alabama.