Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Find the Right One Near Princeton Alabama
Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Princeton AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. It's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential 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 examination also. So in order to evaluate and compare each school you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research. But exactly where do you start? Many future students will launch their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key issues when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will cover those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit about the degree and class options are offered.
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Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new career in Princeton AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some 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 level of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate 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 achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For those who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Princeton AL homes, there are online accredited interior design schools. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Princeton AL residence. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Princeton AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate 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 requiring licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Princeton AL school you choose should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a sizable network of Princeton AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Princeton AL schools you are reviewing and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Princeton AL colleges you are looking at what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Princeton home, visit the campus and monitor a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Princeton AL, make sure 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 process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Choose the Right Princeton Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are a number of factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Princeton Alabama.