Interior Designer Course
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Sylacauga Alabama
So it’s time to start the task of selecting an interior design school near Sylacauga 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 develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's essential you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are reviewing prior to making your final decision. But exactly where do you start? When checking out interior design schools, many potential students begin by zeroing in on those that are closest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the right choice just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are many other considerations that you should weigh when comparing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit about the degree and class choices are available.
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Interior Designer Degree Options
There are four degree options available in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Sylacauga AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training needed to enter the field. They take about 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum 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 provide advanced training in design after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are largely for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Classes
For anyone wishing' to study in the convenience of their Sylacauga AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a great option for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For some students online colleges may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also obtain accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
After you have selected the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Sylacauga AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But choosing the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the right degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national 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 undergone an extensive assessment of their instructors and programs. 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 college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Sylacauga AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers become 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 several of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an excellent education, the Sylacauga AL school you choose should also furnish the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the colleges that you are looking at 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 highly regarded within the interior design field and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Sylacauga AL business connections where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Sylacauga AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they provide. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Sylacauga AL schools you are considering what their average student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Sylacauga home, go to the college and attend a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design school you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Sylacauga AL, make certain that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Sylacauga Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior designer school is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many points to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design colleges 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 Sylacauga Alabama.