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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Auburn AL

How to Pick the Right Interior Designer Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design school near Auburn AL, it's time to start the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential spaces, it's essential that you get the right training to put your talents to work. And since some states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you carry out the appropriate research in order to analyze and compare each school that you are reviewing before you make your final choice. But just where do you begin? Some future students will launch their research by searching for interior design colleges near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are important factors when making a determination, they should not be the only ones. Qualifiers such as accreditation and reputation should be considered also. We will address those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

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Interior Decoration and Interior Design

interior designed living room in Auburn AL

Often people confuse interior design for interior decoration. The primary difference between them is the amount of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a basic knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior spaces. On the other hand, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree as well as be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or residential spaces attractive as well as functional. On various occasions they may work together with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Auburn AL can specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers frequently work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any area of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, for instance kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When dealing with public or commercial spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either aesthetic appeal or functionality but pay attention to both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are spaces where aesthetics may be focused on over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may focus more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are many areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, such as color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. They must be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to integrating Feng shui principles, Auburn Alabama interior designers utilize a wide range of skills that contribute to their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree alternatives offered in interior design to get the training necessary to launch your new career in Auburn AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to commit to your education. But regardless of which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to select one that is accredited. Accreditation is mandated in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination required in some states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum amount of training required to enter the profession. They take roughly 2 years to complete and programs are available at a number of Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can normally obtain entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that supply more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student in order to obtain an entry level position as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty 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 degree programs differ in length but are generally completed in three to five years.

In order to work professionally and use the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of field experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

Interior Designer Online Degree Programs

Auburn AL student attending interior design school onlineFor students who wish to attend classes in the comfort of their Auburn AL homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be an excellent option for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make attending classes on campus problematic. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when practical for the student. For a number of students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design colleges are within commuting distance. And as an added benefit, the tuition may be lower than for more traditional options. Additional expenses for such things as study materials or commuting may be decreased or eliminated also. Just make sure that the program you choose is accredited by a respected accrediting agency, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also acquire accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online education. If you have the dedication to acquire your degree without the confines of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design college may be the ideal alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Design Programs

When you have selected the interior design degree that you want to earn, you can begin the process of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the college needs to be within commuting distance from your Auburn AL home. Naturally if you have decided on attending an online school, or are prepared to relocate to attend classes, then location may not be a qualifier. The cost of tuition will limit your options also. But picking the cheapest college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should look at as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the programs you are reviewing to get those answers in addition to others to help you examine and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design program and school that you enroll in has earned accreditation from either a regional or national organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the school and the quality of the training are exceptional, it might also help when applying for financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Auburn Alabama employers will only employ graduates of accredited colleges for entry level positions.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, several 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 program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, a minimum of 2 years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from furnishing an outstanding education, the Auburn AL school you choose should also provide the appropriate training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be employed.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and obtained 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 so, find out what their job placement rates are. A high rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design field and its students are sought after. It may also indicate that the college has a substantial network of Auburn AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Provided? Contact the financial assistance offices for the Auburn AL schools you are looking at and ask what type of support they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Certain colleges offer partial scholarships while others provide support in securing federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited program is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may actually be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial aid.

How Small are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive minimal individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Auburn AL programs you are reviewing what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Auburn home, visit the college and monitor a couple of classes. Take the opportunity to talk with some students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching styles are and what their experiences have been in interior design.

Are Classes Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Finally, make sure that the interior designer school you select provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Auburn AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, confirm that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the process is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design School near Auburn Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Auburn AlabamaChoosing the right interior designer school is a critical first step toward launching your career in this artistic and fulfilling profession. Finding a school where you will obtain your training and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a difficult task no matter what field you have decided on. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of things to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design school are both accredited and highly esteemed in the profession. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations provided in this article, you will be able to properly assess and compare interior design programs so that you can make the ideal ultimate selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can achieve your goal of becoming an interior designer in Auburn Alabama.