How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Course Phil Campbell Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design degree program near Phil Campbell 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 some states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's essential that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final decision. But just where do you start? Some future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key variables when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation must be taken into account as well. We will cover those topics 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 options are offered.
Interior Decoration and Interior Design
Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design and conversely. The principal distinction between them is the level of education required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, conducting business as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On many occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Phil Campbell AL can specialize in:
- Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, closets and basements. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public areas, designers normally concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks might concentrate more on functionality over looks as the main consideration.
There are various areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer needs to learn, including lighting, color schemes, furniture and acoustics. They have to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From choosing carpeting and wall paper to including Feng shui principles, Phil Campbell AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their ultimate creations.
Interior Design Training Programs
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to start your new profession in Phil Campbell AL. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career objectives as well as 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 certain to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination mandated in a number of states. More will be addressed 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 required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can normally obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
- Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential 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 achieving the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialized majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. Many students enroll to improve their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
- Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly 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 3 to 5 years.
In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before an applicant can sit for the licensing exam.
Online Interior Designer Colleges
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Phil Campbell AL homes, there are online accredited interior design programs. Studying online can be an excellent solution for those students that are working or have busy schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be attended on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Added expenses for such things as commuting or study materials may be reduced or eliminated also. Just make certain that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded 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 education. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the confines of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design program may be the right alternative for you.
Subjects to Ask Interior Design Colleges
When you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your college options. Location will be an important factor, especially if the campus must be within driving distance from your Phil Campbell AL home. Obviously if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will limit your options also. But picking the cheapest college 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 consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's essential to make sure that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national agency. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive evaluation of their instructors and programs. 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 confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Phil Campbell AL employers will only hire graduates of accredited colleges for entry level jobs.
Does the Program Prepare you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require 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 school. And in several of those States requiring licensing, at least 2 years of professional experience may be required also. So in addition to providing an exceptional education, the Phil Campbell AL college you select should also furnish the suitable training 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 attained your interior designer certification, you will no doubt need some help in finding your first position. Ask the schools that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If yes, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent indication that the college and its programs are highly esteemed within the interior design trade and its students are in demand. It might also indicate that the school has a substantial network of Phil Campbell AL business relationships where they can place students to secure internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial aid departments for the Phil Campbell AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what type of support they offer. Many of interior designer programs provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Certain colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited program is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a school that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.
How Big are the Classrooms? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Phil Campbell AL colleges you are reviewing what their average student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Phil Campbell home, go to the school and attend a few classes. Take the opportunity to talk with a few 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, verify that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is especially significant if you will continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Phil Campbell AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, confirm that is an alternative as well. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Ideal Phil Campbell Interior Design College
Choosing the ideal interior design school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will receive your training and cultivate your skills in a specific area of study is a difficult job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of things to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the design college and program are both accredited and highly respected in the field. However it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design schools so that you can make the right final selection. And with excellent training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Phil Campbell AL.