How to Select the Right Interior Design Program Phil Campbell Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design school near Phil Campbell 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 appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are considering prior to making your ultimate choice. But where do you begin? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important issues when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial 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 training options are available.
Interior Decoration vs Interior Design
Often people mistake interior design for interior decoration and vice versa. The primary difference between them is the level of training required. Anyone can do business 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 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 educated to make living or work areas functional as well as attractive. On many projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two broad areas that an interior designer in Phil Campbell AL can specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design basically any room of a house, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers frequently focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are spaces where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might focus more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, for example color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui concepts, Phil Campbell AL interior designers employ a wide range of skills that help bring about their ultimate designs.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are four degree options available in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new profession in Phil Campbell AL. Your choice will undoubtedly be driven by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you choose to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in some states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are offered at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that provide more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative aspects 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 provide advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors for such things as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctoral degrees are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree 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", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Interior Design Online Schools
For students who to study in the comfort of their Phil Campbell AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Attending classes online can be a good option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For some students online schools may be the sole option if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be lower 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 program you choose is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Once you have chosen the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of evaluating your school options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the college must be within commuting distance from your Phil Campbell AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending a school online, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will decrease your options as well. But choosing the most affordable school or the one that is nearest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other factors that you should look at also, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a few questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers as well as others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the ideal degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's important to confirm that the interior designer school and program that you enroll in has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, a number of Phil Campbell AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.
Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, several States do mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, two or more years of professional experience may be required also. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Phil Campbell AL program you enroll in should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with 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 received your interior design certification, you will probably want some assistance in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college 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 sizable network of Phil Campbell AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after graduation.
Is Financial Aid Provided? Contact the financial aid departments for the Phil Campbell AL schools you are evaluating and ask what type of assistance they provide. A number of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their new students. Various colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide help in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is important for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Phil Campbell AL programs you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Phil Campbell home, visit the campus and monitor a couple of 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 experiences have been in interior design.
Are Classes Offered that Fit your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Phil Campbell AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, check what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Enroll in the Ideal Phil Campbell Interior Design School
Picking the ideal interior designer college is a crucial initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and gratifying occupation. Searching for a school where you will obtain your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to acquire a higher education, there are many things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still essential that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal final selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Phil Campbell AL.