Interior Designer College
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Prichard Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of picking an interior design school near Prichard AL once you have made a career decision to become an interior designer. It's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since interior designers are licensed in several states, the college you choose should prepare you to pass any required licensing test and provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to assess and compare each program you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research. But just how do you undertake finding the right school? When looking for interior design programs, the majority of students begin by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. However, a school is not always the best choice simply because it happens to have a campus near your home or is lower in cost. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and class options are available.
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Interior Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new profession in Prichard AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Prichard AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For a number of 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. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just make 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 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 structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Colleges
After you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Prichard AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to make sure that the interior designer program and college that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college 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 excellent, it may also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Prichard AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Prichard AL school you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements 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 no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a large network of Prichard AL business connections where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Prichard AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Prichard AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Prichard home, visit the school and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior designer school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Prichard AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Prichard Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior design school is a critical initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying profession. Locating a college where you will obtain your training and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Prichard Alabama.