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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Phenix City AL

How to Pick the Right Interior Design Program

Once you have decided to enroll in an interior design college 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 spaces, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination also. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can evaluate and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you start? Some potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be considered also. We will address those topics and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing 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 options are offered.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Phenix City AL

Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration. The main difference between the two is the level of training required. Any person 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, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may work together 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 typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design basically any room of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for example bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Design. When working on public or commercial spaces, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over looks as the main concern.

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

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training necessary to begin your new profession in Phenix City AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to devote to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly qualify for 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 aspects of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced design training after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a college or university level. The programs vary in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

Phenix City Alabama interior designer bathroomAfter you have selected the interior design degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of assessing your school options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Phenix City AL home. Obviously if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices also. But picking the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the college. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the right degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and college that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are outstanding, it might also help when requesting financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Phenix City Alabama employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level positions.

Does the Program Ready 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. Therefore besides furnishing an outstanding education, the Phenix City AL program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will no doubt need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the school and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are sought after. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Phenix City AL business connections where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Get in touch with the financial assistance departments for the Phenix City AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they provide. Many of interior design schools offer financial assistance to their new students. Some schools provide partial scholarships and others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Phenix City AL colleges you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Phenix City home, visit the school and monitor a couple of classes. While there talk with a few 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 Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you enroll in provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Phenix City AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Designer College near Phenix City Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Phenix City AlabamaPicking the ideal interior designer college is an important first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Locating a college where you will receive your education and develop your skills in a specific area of study is a challenging job regardless of what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several points to consider before choosing a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still essential 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 properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Phenix City Alabama.