Interior Designer School
How to Pick the Best One Near Talladega Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Talladega AL, it's time to begin the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since interior designers must be licensed in several states, the school you choose should prep you to pass any required licensing exam as well as provide the proper training for your specialty. So in order to evaluate and compare each school you are reviewing before you make your final decision it's vital that you perform the appropriate due diligence. But exactly where do you start? When looking for interior design programs, many potential students start by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. However, a school is not always the right choice just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are various other factors that you should evaluate when analyzing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will address those issues and other vital 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 Programs
There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training needed to launch your new career in Talladega AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things 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 mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary 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 schools become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Talladega AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For some students online programs may be the only option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make certain that the program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have chosen the interior designer 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 college has to be within driving distance from your Talladega AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your options also. But picking the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and school that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized 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 securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, many Talladega AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.
Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required also. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Talladega AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing 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 in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Talladega AL business relationships where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Talladega AL schools you are looking at and ask what kind of support they provide. A number of interior design colleges offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Talladega AL colleges you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Talladega 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 Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Talladega AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Talladega Interior Design College
Selecting the right interior design college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are several factors to consider before enrolling in a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. It is still important that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Talladega Alabama.