Interior Designer Program
How to Enroll in the Best One Near Vestavia Hills Alabama
So it’s time to begin the task of picking an interior design school near Vestavia Hills AL now that you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. It's imperative that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a knack for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's very important you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But just how do you go about finding the right program? When checking out interior design programs, the majority of students begin by targeting the ones that are nearest to their homes with the cheapest tuition. However, a school is not always the best choice just because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are various other considerations that you should evaluate when reviewing schools, such as reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those topics and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit about the degree and training choices are offered.
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Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are 4 degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to start your new profession in Vestavia Hills AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of training needed to enter the profession. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can usually obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs furnish advanced design training after achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer choices in specialized majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant can sit for the licensing examination.
Interior Design Online Schools
For anyone wishing' to study in the comfort of their Vestavia Hills AL homes, there are accredited online interior design schools. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic 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 alternative if no interior design colleges are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Added costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the school 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 receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to acquire your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design school may be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Interior Designer Programs
When you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the school must be within driving distance from your Vestavia Hills AL residence. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your options as well. But choosing the least expensive school or the one that is nearest to your house are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you need to look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to address with the programs you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others to help you examine and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design college and program that you choose has earned accreditation from either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected 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 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 verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Vestavia Hills AL employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, a number of 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to providing an outstanding education, the Vestavia Hills AL college you enroll in should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill 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 received your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Vestavia Hills AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Vestavia Hills AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of assistance they provide. Many of interior designer schools provide financial assistance to their new students. Various schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in acquiring federal student loans or grants. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Small are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Vestavia Hills AL schools you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Vestavia Hills home, go to the college and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Vestavia Hills AL, confirm 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, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Vestavia Hills Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design college is an important first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Locating a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to attain a higher education, there are many points to think about before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. It is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Vestavia Hills Alabama.