Interior Designer College
How to Choose the Right One Near Pell City Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Pell City AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's essential that you obtain the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So in order to analyze and compare each college you are reviewing before you make your ultimate decision it's vital that you perform the proper due diligence. But just where do you begin? Some future students will launch their research by looking for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are key factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. There are a number of other qualifications that you should weigh when comparing schools, for example accreditation and reputation. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training options are available.
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Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new profession in Pell City AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives 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. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Degree Programs
For students who to study in the comfort of their Pell City AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Pell City AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Pell City AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get 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 program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Pell City AL college you enroll in should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Pell City AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Pell City AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Pell City AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Pell City home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Pell City AL, verify 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 procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Pell City Interior Design School
Picking the right interior designer college is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are several things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Pell City Alabama.