Interior Designer School
How to Select the Right One Near Phenix City Alabama
So it’s time to start the process of picking an interior design school near Phenix City AL now that you have made a career choice to study to be an interior designer. It's important that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So in order to assess and compare each college you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research. But just where do you begin? When checking out interior design programs, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. However, a school is not always the right choice simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are various other qualifications that you should weigh when reviewing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will address those topics and other important 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 training 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 launch your new career in Phenix City AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the trade 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 two year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors for such things 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 largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically 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 several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Phenix City AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Now that you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Phenix City AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure 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 confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Phenix City AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become 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 requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Phenix City AL school you choose should also provide the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs 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 sign that the college and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It may also signify that the college has a significant network of Phenix City AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Phenix City AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Phenix City AL colleges you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Phenix City home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few students and find out 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 Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Phenix City AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phenix City Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly 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 Phenix City Alabama.