Interior Designer Course
How to Pick the Best One Near Opelika Alabama
So it’s time to begin the process of choosing an interior design school near Opelika AL once you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. It's important that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital you do the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are reviewing before you make your final selection. But just how do you go about finding the right program? Many prospective students will launch their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. However, a school is not always the best choice simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will discuss those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking 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 class choices are available.
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Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession in Opelika AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For individuals who wish to study in the comfort of their Opelika AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a good alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed 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 colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased 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 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 earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Opelika AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer school and program that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college 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 education are excellent, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Opelika AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require 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, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Opelika AL program you enroll in should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Opelika AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Opelika AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention 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 school and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design school you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Opelika AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Opelika Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior design program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several things to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Opelika Alabama.