Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Pick the Best One Near Prattville Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Prattville AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. It's important that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So in order to analyze and compare each college you are looking at prior to making your final decision it's very important that you do the appropriate research. But exactly where do you begin? When checking out interior design schools, the majority of students start by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. There are a number of other factors that you should weigh when analyzing schools, for example reputation and accreditation. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training options are offered.
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Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to receive the training needed to begin your new career in Prattville AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects 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 position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer 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 their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually 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 colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Courses
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Prattville AL homes, there are online accredited interior design classes. Studying online can be an excellent option for those students that are working 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 many students online colleges may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the college you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, 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 education. 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 alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Prattville AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing 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 college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by 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 obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Prattville AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an excellent education, the Prattville AL school you enroll in should also furnish the appropriate education 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at 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 highly esteemed within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It may also signify that the college has a substantial network of Prattville AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Prattville AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Prattville AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Prattville home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with some 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Prattville AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Best Prattville Interior Design School
Selecting the ideal interior design college is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prattville Alabama.