How to Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Degree Program Phil Campbell Alabama
Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior designer degree program 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 interiors, it's imperative that you obtain the proper training to put your natural abilities to work. And since several states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's crucial that you do the proper research so that you can analyze and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But just where do you start? Many future students will kick off their research by searching for interior design schools near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While location and cost are key factors when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation should be taken into consideration also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are looking at 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 choices are available.
Interior Design and Interior Decoration
Many people mistake interior design for interior decoration and conversely. The key difference between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior areas. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in a number of 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 various projects they may collaborate with building engineers and architects. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Phil Campbell AL may specialize in:
- Residential Designing. Interior Designers often 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 specific room, for example kitchens or bathrooms.
- Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public areas, designers frequently concentrate primarily on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but take notice of both. For example, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for banks and hospitals might concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.
There are numerous areas of commercial and residential interior design that a designer must learn, including color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. Designers must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From choosing wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Phil Campbell AL interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that help bring about their final designs.
Interior Designer Degree Options
There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to receive the training needed to start your new profession in Phil Campbell AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be influenced by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have 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 needed 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. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.
- Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum amount of training needed to enter the field. They take about two years to complete and programs are offered at many 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 supply more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative facets of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the minimum credential needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
- Master's Degree. These two year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors for such things 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 mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs differ in length but are usually completed in three to five years.
To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In several instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be required before an applicant can take the licensing exam.
Online Interior Design Schools
For anyone wishing' to attend classes in the convenience of their Phil Campbell AL homes, there are online accredited interior design colleges. Studying online can be a great alternative for those students that are working or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a home computer or laptop when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole option if no interior design programs are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more conventional options. Additional costs for such things as study materials or commuting may be minimized or eliminated also. Just make sure that the college you select is accredited by a respected accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online programs may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on online or distance learning. If you have the dedication to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom setting, then an online interior design school may be the ideal alternative for you.
Topics to Ask Interior Designer Colleges
Now that you have chosen the interior designer degree that you wish to earn, you can start the task of assessing your school options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college needs to be within driving distance from your Phil Campbell AL home. 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 qualification. The fee for tuition will decrease your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your selection. There are other issues that you should consider as well, such as the reputation and accreditation of the program. Following are a list of concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to obtain those answers in addition to others to help you assess and subsequently choose the appropriate degree program.
Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's essential to confirm that the interior design program and college that you choose has been accredited by either a regional or national agency. 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 demanding evaluation of their instructors and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it may also help when requesting financial assistance 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 mandate that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited college. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an excellent education, the Phil Campbell AL program you select should also provide the suitable education 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 School's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and earned your interior design certification, you will no doubt want some help in finding your first position. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good indication that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design profession and its students are in demand. It could also signify that the college has a large network of Phil Campbell AL business relationships where they can refer students to obtain internships or jobs after they graduate.
Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Phil Campbell AL schools you are evaluating and find out what type of support they provide. Many of interior designer colleges provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships while others provide help in acquiring grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that enrolling in an accredited school is important for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.
How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Ask the Phil Campbell AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Phil Campbell home, go to the campus and monitor a few 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 backgrounds are in interior design.
Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, confirm that the interior design program you select offers classes the fit your active 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, make sure that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only attend part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.
Find the Best Phil Campbell Interior Design School
Selecting the right interior design school is a critical first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your education and develop your skills in a particular area of study is a challenging job regardless of what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to attain an advanced education, there are a number of points to consider before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, check that the program and design school are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you perform your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to effectively review and compare interior design schools so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Phil Campbell AL.