Interior Designer Course
How to Pick the Best One Near Prattville Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of selecting an interior design school near Prattville AL once you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. 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 talents to work. And since interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the school you select should prepare you to pass any required licensing test as well as provide the necessary training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each program you are reviewing prior to making your final choice it's essential that you do the proper due diligence. But just how do you go about finding the right program? When checking out interior design programs, many potential students begin by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. There are various other factors that you should evaluate when comparing schools, such as accreditation and reputation. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training alternatives are offered.
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Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new career in Prattville AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally 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 professional experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Courses
For students who to study in the comfort of their Prattville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be a great 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 home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For a number of students online schools may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving 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 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 programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
Once you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school must be within driving distance from your Prattville AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers in addition to others to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Prattville AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Prattville AL college you select should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ exam and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the college has a significant network of Prattville AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid offices for the Prattville AL colleges you are reviewing and ask what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Prattville AL programs you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Prattville home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some 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 Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Prattville AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Best Prattville Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prattville Alabama.