Interior Designer College
How to Pick the Right One Near Vestavia Hills Alabama
So it’s time to start the process of selecting an interior design school near Vestavia Hills AL now that you have made a career choice to become an interior designer. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So in order to analyze and compare each program you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate choice it's crucial that you perform the proper due diligence. But just how do you undertake enrolling in the right program? When checking out interior design schools, the majority of students begin by targeting those that are closest to their homes with the lowest tuition. However, a school is not always the best choice simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those topics and other vital 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 class options are offered.
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Interior Design Degree Options
There are 4 degree alternatives available in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new career in Vestavia Hills AL. Your selection will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in a number of states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that furnish 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 credential needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced training in design after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty 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. Doctoral programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs vary in length but are normally completed in three to five years.
In order to work as a professional and adopt 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 a candidate can take the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Courses
For individuals who wish to study in the convenience of their Vestavia Hills AL homes, there are accredited online interior design degrees. Studying online can be an excellent alternative for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. 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 only alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional 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 be sure that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the perfect option for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Design Schools
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Vestavia Hills AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices also. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is closest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to consider as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment 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 recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Vestavia Hills AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. Therefore in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Vestavia Hills AL program you choose should also provide 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? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a significant network of Vestavia Hills AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Get in touch with the financial assistance offices for the Vestavia Hills AL schools you are reviewing and find out what type of assistance they offer. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Vestavia Hills AL schools you are considering what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Vestavia Hills home, visit the college 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 backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer college you select offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Vestavia Hills AL, make certain that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Vestavia Hills Interior Design School
Picking the right interior design school is a crucial first step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire an advanced education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly respected in the business. It is still imperative that you conduct your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Vestavia Hills Alabama.