Interior Designer Course
How to Find the Right One Near Phenix City Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Phenix City AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And because interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the college you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So it's very important you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But just how do you go about finding the right program? Many potential students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best choice simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training choices are offered.
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Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to begin your new profession in Phenix City AL. Your selection will no doubt 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, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically obtain entry level jobs 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 creative and technical components 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 job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve 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 college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically 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 some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Phenix City AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you choose is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Phenix City AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm 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 industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Phenix City AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become 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 mandating licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Phenix City AL program you choose should also furnish the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Phenix City AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Phenix City AL colleges you are looking at and find out what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Phenix City AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Phenix City home, visit the school and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Phenix City AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Phenix City Interior Design School
Picking the right interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job regardless of what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are several things to think about before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still important that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Phenix City Alabama.