Interior Designer College
How to Pick the Best One Near Northport Alabama
So it’s time to begin the process of selecting an interior design school near Northport AL once you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. It's imperative that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And because interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the school you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each college you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection it's vital that you perform the proper research. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right program? When looking for interior design programs, the majority of students start by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other crucial 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 available.
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Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new career in Northport AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take 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 brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the 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 enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Northport AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the perfect option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the college has to be within driving distance from your Northport AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous assessment of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college 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, many Northport AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the College 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) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Northport AL college you choose 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 received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance 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 an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Northport AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Northport AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Northport AL colleges you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Northport home, visit the college and sit in on 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 credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Northport AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Northport Interior Design School
Picking the right interior design program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Locating a school where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program 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 balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Northport Alabama.