Interior Designer Program
How to Select the Best One Near Oxford Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Oxford AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. It's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's crucial you carry out the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are considering before you make your ultimate decision. But just where do you begin? When looking for interior design programs, the majority of students begin by targeting those that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of other factors that you should evaluate when reviewing schools, for example accreditation and reputation. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training options are available.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN CAREER BELOW!
Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new profession in Oxford AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations 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 two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business needed 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 two year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Courses
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Oxford AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools 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 school may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Oxford AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design college and program 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 receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive assessment of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Oxford AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of 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 calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the Oxford AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out 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 field and its graduates are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a significant network of Oxford AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Oxford AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of aid they provide. Many of interior design schools provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is essential 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? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Oxford AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Oxford home, visit the campus and sit in on a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Oxford AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Find Out More About How to Become an Interior Designer in Oxford
Choose the Right Oxford Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer program is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several points to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Oxford Alabama.
Oxford Interior Design Colleges | Oxford Interior Design Classes