Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Enroll in the Right One Near Mountain Brook Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Mountain Brook AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. It's imperative that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So in order to assess and compare each school you are considering before you make your final selection it's essential that you do the proper due diligence. But where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. However, a school is not always the best option simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be considered also. We will discuss those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training choices are available.
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Interior Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new profession in Mountain Brook AL. Your choice 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 regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment 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 creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Mountain Brook AL homes, there are accredited online interior design classes. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
After you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Mountain Brook AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in 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). Schools earning 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 organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Mountain Brook AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep 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 some of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Mountain Brook AL program you select should also furnish the appropriate training 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Mountain Brook AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Mountain Brook AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. Many of interior design schools provide financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? 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 Mountain Brook AL schools you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Mountain Brook home, go to the school 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 styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Mountain Brook AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Learn More About How to Become an Interior Designer in Mountain Brook
Choose the Best Mountain Brook Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. It is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Mountain Brook Alabama.
Mountain Brook Interior Design Degrees | Mountain Brook How To Become An Interior Designer