Interior Designer Degree
How to Select the Best One Near Mountain Brook Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Mountain Brook AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. It's important 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 several states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So in order to evaluate and compare each program you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision it's essential that you carry out the appropriate research. But where do you begin? A number of future students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. There are many other qualifications that you should weigh when reviewing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will address those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit about the degree and class alternatives are offered.
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Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training necessary to launch your new career in Mountain Brook AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in some states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered 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 4 year programs that supply more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required 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 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives 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. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Courses
For students who to study in the convenience of their Mountain Brook AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting 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 reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Mountain Brook AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Mountain Brook AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Mountain Brook AL college you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at 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 held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a significant network of Mountain Brook AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Mountain Brook AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide 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. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Mountain Brook AL programs you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Mountain Brook home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Mountain Brook AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you 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 Best Mountain Brook Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mountain Brook Alabama.