Interior Designer Degree
How to Find the Best One Near Selma Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of selecting an interior design school near Selma AL once you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. 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 a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential you do the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But exactly where do you begin? When checking out interior design schools, many potential students start by zeroing in on the ones that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. While location and cost are important variables when making a decision, they should not be the only ones. There are various other considerations that you should weigh when analyzing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching 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 Design Degree Options
There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training required to begin your new profession in Selma AL. Your choice will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some 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 provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment 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 creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Designer Degree Programs
For students who to study in the convenience of their Selma AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For many students online colleges may be the only option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be decreased or eliminated as well. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also receive 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 environment, then an online interior design school may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can start the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school has to be within commuting distance from your Selma AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior design college and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a demanding assessment of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program 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 education are excellent, it may also help when obtaining financial aid 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 colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in several of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Selma AL college you enroll in should also provide the suitable training 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? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job assistance program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a large network of Selma AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Selma AL colleges you are evaluating and find out what kind of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that choosing an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Selma AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Selma home, go to the college and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to 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 Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior designer program you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Selma AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Selma Interior Design School
Choosing the ideal interior designer school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many points to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly esteemed in the business. It is still essential 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 effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right final selection. And with quality training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Selma Alabama.