Interior Designer Course
How to Pick the Right One Near Mountain Brook Alabama
So it’s time to start the task of selecting an interior design school near Mountain Brook AL once you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. It's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's vital you carry out the proper research in order to analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But where do you begin? When looking for interior design schools, many potential students begin by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. However, a school is not always the right choice just because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. There are various other factors that you should weigh when comparing schools, for example reputation and accreditation. We will cover those topics and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit about the degree and training options are available.
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Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to start your new career in Mountain Brook AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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 required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally 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 colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Mountain Brook AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges 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 be sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Mountain Brook AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify 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 verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Mountain Brook AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States mandating licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Mountain Brook AL college you enroll in should also furnish the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a large network of Mountain Brook AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Mountain Brook AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Mountain Brook AL schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Mountain Brook home, go to the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Mountain Brook AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Mountain Brook Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior design college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mountain Brook Alabama.