Interior Designer School
How to Pick the Right One Near Sylacauga Alabama
Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Sylacauga 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 a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So in order to evaluate and compare each college you are looking at before you make your final selection it's essential that you perform the proper due diligence. But just how do you approach finding the right program? Many prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are key variables when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. There are a number of other factors that you should weigh when comparing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training options are available.
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Interior Design Degree Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training needed to launch your new profession in Sylacauga AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets 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 job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Schools
For those who wish to study in the comfort of their Sylacauga AL homes, there are accredited online interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make going to classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when practical for the student. For a number of students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated also. Just be sure that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the right 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, especially if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Sylacauga AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending a school online, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and subsequently select the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer program and college that you choose 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are excellent, it might also help when requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Sylacauga AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States requiring licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. Therefore aside from providing an excellent education, the Sylacauga AL college you choose should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Sylacauga AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Sylacauga AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide support in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Sylacauga AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Sylacauga home, go to the school and attend a few classes. While there talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Sylacauga AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Sylacauga Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior design college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have selected. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a school, program, or course. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still essential that you conduct your due diligence research. 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 programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sylacauga Alabama.