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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Phenix City AL

How to Choose the Right Interior Design Course

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Phenix City AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's important that you get the right training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? Many potential students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into account as well. We will address those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training alternatives are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Phenix City AL

Many people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The main distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, conducting business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make living or work spaces functional as well as attractive. On some projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Phenix City AL can specialize in:

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

There are several areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example 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 picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Phenix City Alabama interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
 

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Phenix City AL. Your selection will undoubtedly be motivated by your career objectives as well as the time and money that you have budgeted to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief 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 profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can commonly obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs provide advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are primarily for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before an applicant 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.

Questions to Ask Interior Design Colleges

Now that you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, particularly if the campus needs to be within driving distance from your Phenix City AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive school or the one that is closest 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 school. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you examine and ultimately select the right degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to make sure that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just verify 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 establish that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are outstanding, it might also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Phenix City Alabama employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several 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 also. So in addition to furnishing an excellent education, the Phenix City AL program you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ exam and meet 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 obtained your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent indication that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It could also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Phenix City AL business contacts where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.

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

How Large are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you probably will receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Phenix City AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Phenix City home, go to the campus and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Phenix City AL, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design College near Phenix City Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Phenix City AlabamaSelecting the right interior design college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Locating a school where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many points to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. However it is still important that you conduct your due diligence research. By doing so and following the rest of the recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly review and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Phenix City Alabama.