Interior Designer Degree
How to Find the Right One Near Phenix City Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Phenix City AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. It's important that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon 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 final choice it's vital that you do the appropriate due diligence. But exactly where do you begin? Many prospective students will launch their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. 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 considerations that you should evaluate when comparing schools, such as accreditation and reputation. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit about the degree and training options are offered.
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Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Phenix City AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can usually obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade needed 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 two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional and adopt 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 needed before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Phenix City AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are employed or have busy 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 some students online schools may be the only alternative if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. 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 ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs
Once you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Phenix City AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other variables that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Phenix City AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Phenix City AL program you select should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Phenix City AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Phenix City AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a program that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Phenix City AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Phenix City home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with a few 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Phenix City AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Choose the Best Phenix City Interior Design College
Picking the right interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of factors to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. It is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Phenix City Alabama.