Home >> Alabama >> Phenix City >> Interior Design Colleges


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Phenix City AL

How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Phenix City AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's imperative that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection. But exactly where do you start? Some future students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important variables when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are offered.

Start Your Interior Design Career By Requesting Free Info on Local Schools Below

Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Phenix City AL

Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The key distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Phenix City AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers often focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. For instance, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary consideration.

There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as lighting, color schemes, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Phenix City Alabama interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Designer Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to launch your new profession in Phenix City AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money 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 qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination 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 available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical aspects of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest 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 supply advanced design training after attaining 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 advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are largely for those professionals who want 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.

In order to work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited schools become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.

What to Ask Interior Design Programs

Phenix City Alabama interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the school needs to be within driving distance from your Phenix City AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will narrow down your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior designer program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by 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 an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just make sure 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 outstanding, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Phenix City Alabama employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States requiring licensing, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Phenix City AL school you enroll in should also provide the proper training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet 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 designer certification, you will probably want some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a sizable network of Phenix City AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Phenix City AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Phenix City AL schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Phenix City home, visit the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer program you enroll in 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 Phenix City AL, make certain that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, confirm that is an alternative also. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design College near Phenix City Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Phenix City AlabamaPicking the right interior design college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to receive an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right final selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Phenix City Alabama.