Interior Designer Program
How to Find the Best One Near Prattville Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of picking an interior design school near Prattville AL now that you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. It's imperative that you get the best available training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since interior designers are licensed in a number of states, the college you select should prep you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to evaluate and compare each program you are considering prior to making your final choice it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research. But just how do you go about enrolling in the right school? A number of future students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. There are several other qualifications that you should evaluate when reviewing schools, such as accreditation and reputation. We will discuss those topics and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit about the degree and training choices are offered.
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Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new profession in Prattville AL. Your decision will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take 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 short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly 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 three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Degree Programs
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Prattville AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Attending classes online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, 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 distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college must be within commuting distance from your Prattville AL residence. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Prattville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an exceptional education, the Prattville AL program you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 earned your interior designer certification, you will probably want some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Prattville AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Prattville AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Prattville AL programs you are looking at what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Prattville home, visit the college and sit in on a couple of classes. While there talk 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior designer college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Prattville AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Prattville Interior Design College
Picking the ideal interior designer program is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. It is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prattville Alabama.