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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Phenix City AL

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer College

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Phenix City AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial interiors, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the proper research in order to assess and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection. But where do you begin? Many prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into account also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But before we do, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are offered.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Phenix City AL

Some people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Phenix City AL may specialize in:

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

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From selecting carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Phenix City Alabama interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that contribute to their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to obtain the training necessary to launch your new profession in Phenix City AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the money and time that you have to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically 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 cover the creative and technical facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure 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 alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Why Do You Want to Be an Interior Designer?

Phenix City AL student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Phenix City AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options as well. But selecting the most affordable school or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to ask the schools you are looking at to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior designer college and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national organization. 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 gone through a demanding evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are excellent, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Phenix City Alabama employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate 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 mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of professional experience may be required as well. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Phenix City AL school you select should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also signify that the school has a significant network of Phenix City AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Phenix City AL colleges you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships while others provide support in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Phenix City AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Phenix City home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior designer school you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Phenix City AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Choose the Right Interior Design Program near Phenix City Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Phenix City AlabamaSelecting the right interior designer college is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive a higher education, there are many things to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the business. But it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Phenix City Alabama.