Interior Designer School
How to Select the Best One Near Phenix City Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Phenix City AL, it's time to begin the process of picking a school. It's imperative that you get the best available training to put your skills to work, even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial interiors. And since some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's vital you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at prior to making your ultimate choice. But just where do you begin? When looking for interior design programs, the majority of students begin by zeroing in on those that are nearest to their homes with the lowest tuition. But keep in mind, a school is not always the best choice simply because it has the lowest tuition or is located closest to your home. There are many other factors that you should evaluate when analyzing schools, for example reputation and accreditation. We will discuss those issues and other important 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 alternatives are offered.
IT TAKES JUST A FEW MINUTES TO START YOUR INTERIOR DESIGN CAREER BELOW!
Interior Design Compared to Interior Decoration
Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates formal training and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two broad categories that an interior designer in Phenix City AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they can specialize in designing one specific room, such as bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers often concentrate predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the primary consideration.
There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui concepts, Phenix City AL interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
Interior Designer Degree Programs
There are four degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to launch your new career in Phenix City AL. Your choice 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 certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in a number of states. More will be discussed on additional benefits of accreditation later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.
- Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees provide the minimum amount of education needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can normally qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the creative and technical components of the business needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a college graduate in order to obtain an entry level job as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced design training after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are primarily for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are typically completed in three to five years.
To work as a professional and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of field experience may be called for before an applicant can take the licensing examination.
Online Interior Design Colleges
For students who to attend classes in the convenience of their Phenix City AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a great alternative for those students that are employed or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus difficult. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For many students online programs may be the only option if no interior design schools are within driving distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be reduced or eliminated as well. Just make certain that the school you pick is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online schools may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to obtain your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Programs
Once you have decided on the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can begin the task of evaluating your college options. Location will be a critical factor, especially if the school must be within commuting distance from your Phenix City AL home. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are able to move to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options as well. But picking the most affordable school or the one that is closest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should look at also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design School Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior designer program and college that you choose has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding 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 agency. 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 requesting financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Phenix City AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.
Does the School 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 as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So in addition to furnishing an outstanding education, the Phenix City AL school you choose should also furnish the suitable education to pass the NCIDQ examination and satisfy the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.
What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and attained your interior designer certification, you will probably need some support in finding your first job. 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 an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design trade and its graduates are sought after. It might also indicate that the school has a large network of Phenix City AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after graduation.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid offices for the Phenix City AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of aid they provide. Many of interior designer programs provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various schools provide partial scholarships and others provide support in acquiring grants or federal student loans. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a program that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Find out from the Phenix City AL schools you are considering what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If convenient from your Phenix City home, go to the campus and sit in on a few classes. Take the opportunity to speak with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design school you select provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Phenix City AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an option also. Finally, find out what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, family or illness.
Choose the Right Phenix City Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior designer program is a critical first step toward launching your career in this creative and rewarding profession. Searching for a college where you will obtain your education and develop your talents in a particular area of study is a daunting task no matter what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are several factors to consider before selecting a school, program, or course. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. It is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design schools so that you can make the appropriate ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Phenix City Alabama.