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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Phenix City AL

How to Find the Right Interior Design School

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer 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 residential or commercial interiors, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital that you perform the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing prior to making your final choice. But just where do you start? Some prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key issues when making a decision, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into account also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But first, let's talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class options are offered.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Phenix City AL

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The key difference between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates 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 work or residential areas functional as well as attractive. On many occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Phenix City AL can specialize in:

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

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

Interior Design Training Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to acquire the training needed to begin your new profession in Phenix City AL. Your selection will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are short descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees supply the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level employment as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level job 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 specialty majors for such things as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mainly 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", a number of states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.

Why Study to Become 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.

What to Ask Interior Design Colleges

After you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be an important issue, especially if the school has to be within driving distance from your Phenix City AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the cheapest school or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you need to look at as well, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you compare and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous assessment of their programs and instructors. 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 outstanding, it may also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Phenix City Alabama employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam as well as a degree from an accredited college. And in several of those States calling for licensing, at least 2 years of work experience may be required also. Therefore in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Phenix City AL program you enroll in should also provide the proper education to pass the NCIDQ exam 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 attained your interior design certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the school has a substantial network of Phenix City AL business connections where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Phenix City AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of support they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial aid to their new students. Various schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that enrolling in an accredited school is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classrooms? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Phenix City AL programs you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Phenix City home, visit the campus and attend a couple of 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 Accessible that Fit your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Phenix City AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.

Choose the Best Interior Designer College near Phenix City Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Phenix City AlabamaPicking the ideal interior design program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult task regardless of what major you have selected. 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, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Phenix City Alabama.