Interior Designer Program
How to Pick the Right One Near Phenix City Alabama
So it’s time to start the task of picking an interior design school near Phenix City AL now that you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And because interior designers must be licensed in several states, the college you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's crucial you perform the proper research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are reviewing before you make your final decision. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will begin their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. However, a school is not always the right choice simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account as well. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 Designer Degrees
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new profession in Phenix City AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide 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 some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components 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 job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree 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", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Designer Online Courses
For individuals who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Phenix City AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Phenix City AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer college and program that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation 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 agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial assistance 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 positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Phenix City AL college you choose should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and fulfill 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 earned your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the school has a sizable network of Phenix City AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Phenix City AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Phenix City AL schools you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Phenix City home, go to the school and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make certain that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Phenix City AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Phenix City Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design program is an important initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Phenix City Alabama.