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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Phenix City AL

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Design Course

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program near Phenix City AL, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's important that you get the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam also. So it's crucial that you carry out the proper research so that you can assess and compare each program that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you start? Many potential students will start their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation must be taken into consideration as well. We will discuss those topics and other important 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 more about what interior design is and what degree and class alternatives are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Phenix City AL

Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On some projects they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad areas that an interior designer in Phenix City AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas 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 various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to including Feng shui principles, Phenix City Alabama interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that contribute to their final creations.
 

Interior Design Degrees

There are four degree options available in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new career in Phenix City AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be influenced by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But no matter which degree program you opt 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 required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the business needed 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 2 year programs supply advanced design training after attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

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

Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs

Phenix City Alabama interior designer bathroomWhen you have chosen the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of analyzing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the college must be within driving distance from your Phenix City AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are looking at to get those answers in addition to others to help you compare and ultimately pick the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you select 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). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. 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 requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Phenix City Alabama employers will only employ graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do require that interior designers get 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 college. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an exceptional education, the Phenix City AL college you select should also provide the suitable training 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? Once you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will no doubt want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It may also signify that the school has a substantial network of Phenix City AL business contacts where they can refer students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Phenix City AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their new students. Some colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive limited individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Phenix City AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Phenix City home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior designer college you select provides classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly significant if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night 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, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Program near Phenix City Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Phenix City AlabamaSelecting the right interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have selected. As with any endeavor to attain a higher education, there are many factors to think about before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Phenix City Alabama.