Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Choose the Right One Near Oxford Alabama
So it’s time to begin the process of choosing an interior design school near Oxford AL now that you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So in order to assess and compare each school you are looking at prior to making your final choice it's crucial that you carry out the proper research. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right school? When checking out interior design programs, many potential students start by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered also. We will cover those topics and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and class alternatives are available.
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Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new profession in Oxford AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs 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 required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring a 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 advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Classes
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Oxford AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded 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 setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Schools
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Oxford AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and school that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and teachers. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Oxford 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 mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an excellent education, the Oxford AL school you select should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with 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 probably want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are reviewing 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 esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Oxford AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Oxford AL schools you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Some colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Oxford AL schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Oxford home, go to the school and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with some 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Oxford AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Oxford Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior designer school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school 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 properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Oxford Alabama.