Interior Designer Degree Program
How to Pick the Best One Near Phenix City Alabama
So it’s time to begin the process of picking an interior design school near Phenix City AL now that you have made a career decision to study to be an interior designer. It's imperative that you get the appropriate training to develop your skills, even if you have always had a talent for designing commercial or residential interiors. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's vital you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each college that you are considering prior to making your final selection. But just where do you start? Many potential students will begin their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are relevant issues when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. There are a number of other considerations that you should evaluate when comparing schools, for instance reputation and accreditation. We will cover those issues and other vital questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training options are offered.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN CAREER BELOW!
Interior Design vs Interior Decoration
Many people confuse interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The principal difference between the two is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in a number of states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Phenix City AL can 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, closets and basements. Or they can specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for banks and hospitals may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are many areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to incorporating Feng shui principles, Phenix City AL interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Design Degrees
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training required to start your new career in Phenix City AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, make 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 several states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a college graduate 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 provide options in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral programs are mainly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.
To work as a professional 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 field experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Designer Online Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Phenix City AL homes, there are online accredited interior design degrees. Studying online can be a good solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design programs are within driving distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated as well. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the discipline to obtain your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have selected the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the campus has to be within driving distance from your Phenix City AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is nearest to your house are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other things that you need to look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to address with the schools you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you compare and ultimately choose the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and college that you select has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone an extensive evaluation of their programs and instructors. Just confirm that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the school and the quality of the education are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Phenix City AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.
Does the School Prepare 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) examination as well as a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States mandating licensing, two or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Phenix City AL college you choose 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 School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained your interior design certification, you will undoubtedly want some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design trade and its students are sought after. It might also indicate that the college has a large network of Phenix City AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Phenix City AL schools you are evaluating and ask what kind of aid they offer. A number of interior design colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Some schools provide partial scholarships while others provide support in securing grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited program is essential for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Phenix City AL programs you are considering what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Phenix City home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of classes. While there speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you select offers 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 at night or on weekends near Phenix City AL, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phenix City Interior Design School
Choosing the right interior design college is a critical initial step toward starting your career in this creative and fulfilling profession. Locating a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to receive an advanced education, there are a number of things to think about before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. It is still essential that you perform your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your desire to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Phenix City Alabama.