Interior Designer Degree
How to Find the Right One Near Pelham Alabama
So it’s time to begin the process of selecting an interior design school near Pelham AL now that you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's imperative that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And because interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the college you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's vital you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering before you make your final choice. But just where do you begin? When looking for interior design schools, many potential students begin by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. There are a number of other factors that you should weigh when analyzing schools, such as accreditation and reputation. We will cover those issues and other crucial 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 options are available.
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Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new profession in Pelham AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available 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 furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Classes
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Pelham AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the program you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Pelham AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design college and program that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. 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 gone through a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Pelham AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers become 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 school. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Pelham AL college you select should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Pelham AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Pelham AL colleges you are looking at and find out what kind of support they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small 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 Pelham AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Pelham home, visit the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Pelham AL, verify that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Pelham Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design program is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the field. It is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Pelham Alabama.