Interior Designer Course
How to Pick the Right One Near Sylacauga Alabama
So it’s time to start the process of selecting an interior design school near Sylacauga AL now that you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since interior designers must be licensed in a number of states, the college you select should prep you to pass any required licensing exam and provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to analyze and compare each college you are considering before you make your ultimate decision it's essential that you do the proper research. But just how do you approach finding the right program? When looking for interior design programs, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. However, a school is not always the best choice simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are various other qualifications that you should weigh when analyzing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training choices are available.
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Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new career in Sylacauga AL. Your choice will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have to commit to 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 mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain 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 deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are largely for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of 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 sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For those who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Sylacauga AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed 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 many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Programs
Now that you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Sylacauga AL home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you need to consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently pick the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation 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 organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Sylacauga AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the College Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do mandate that interior designers become 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Sylacauga AL school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a large network of Sylacauga AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Sylacauga AL schools you are looking at and find out what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior designer colleges offer financial aid to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide help in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Sylacauga AL schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Sylacauga home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Sylacauga AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.
Enroll in the Right Sylacauga Interior Design College
Choosing the right interior designer school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Finding a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still essential that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with excellent training and your determination to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Sylacauga Alabama.