Interior Designer College
How to Pick the Best One Near Troy Alabama
So it’s time to start the process of selecting an interior design school near Troy 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 spaces, it's essential that you get the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right school? Some future students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into account also. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit about the degree and training alternatives are available.
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Interior Designer Degrees
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career in Troy AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum amount of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for 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 cover the creative and technical aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are generally completed in 3 to 5 years.
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 some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Degree Programs
For students who to attend classes in the comfort of their Troy AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be attended on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the only alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the program you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Designer Programs
After you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Troy AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will decrease your options as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to consider as well, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's essential to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and teachers. 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are excellent, it may also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Troy AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Troy AL college you select should also provide the appropriate education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.
What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a significant network of Troy AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial aid offices for the Troy AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that selecting an accredited school is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Small are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Troy AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Troy home, visit the college and sit in on a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially important if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Troy AL, make sure that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Troy Interior Design College
Selecting the ideal interior designer college is a crucial first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are several points to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still important that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess 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 accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Troy Alabama.