Interior Designer School
How to Pick the Right One Near Opelika Alabama
So it’s time to start the process of selecting an interior design school near Opelika AL once you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. It's important that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So in order to evaluate and compare each school you are reviewing prior to making your final decision it's vital that you perform the proper due diligence. But just how do you go about finding the right program? Some prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues 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 training alternatives are available.
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Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Opelika AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of training needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such 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 mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually 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 degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Classes
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Opelika AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a recognized 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 learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Opelika AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at 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 College Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Opelika AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require 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 requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required also. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Opelika AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy 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 need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Opelika AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Opelika AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Opelika AL schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Opelika home, go to the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior designer school you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Opelika AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Opelika Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer program is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Opelika Alabama.