Interior Designer Course
How to Select the Right One Near Princeton Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Princeton AL, it's time to start the process of picking a school. It's imperative that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So in order to evaluate and compare each school you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision it's essential that you carry out the proper research. But just how do you undertake finding the right program? When looking for interior design schools, the majority of students start by targeting the ones that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit about the degree and class alternatives are offered.
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Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to begin your new career in Princeton AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that provide more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices 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 university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Classes
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Princeton AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good option 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 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 commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the school you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn 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 confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right alternative for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Princeton AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment 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 agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Princeton AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Princeton AL program you select should also provide the suitable 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 Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the schools 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 sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a sizable network of Princeton AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Princeton AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of support they provide. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Princeton AL programs you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Princeton home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer program you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Princeton AL, confirm that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Princeton Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior design school is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many points to consider before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the profession. It is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Princeton Alabama.