Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Selma Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Selma AL, it's time to start 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 knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination also. So in order to evaluate and compare each program you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate due diligence. But just how do you undertake finding the right program? When looking for interior design programs, the majority of students start by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. While cost and location are important issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. There are a number of other considerations that you should weigh when reviewing schools, for example reputation and accreditation. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and class alternatives are available.
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Interior Design Degrees
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to start your new career in Selma AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade needed 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 two year programs supply advanced design training after acquiring a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate 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.
Online Interior Designer Schools
For those who wish to study in the convenience of their Selma AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you pick is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization, 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 learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
When you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Selma AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to home are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to make sure that the interior design school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Selma AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides providing an excellent education, the Selma AL college you enroll in should also furnish the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Selma 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 Selma AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer programs offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Selma AL programs you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Selma home, go to the school and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Selma AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Right Selma Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer college is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many things to think about before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the field. It is still essential that you complete your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Selma Alabama.