Home >> Alabama >> Auburn >> Interior Design Colleges


Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Auburn AL

How to Choose the Right Interior Design Degree Program

Once you have made a decision to enroll in an interior designer college near Auburn 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 interiors, it's important that you receive the appropriate training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do require that interior designers become licensed, based upon your state of residence you could need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's very important that you carry out the appropriate research in order to assess and compare each college that you are considering before you make your ultimate selection. But just where do you begin? A number of future students will begin their research by searching for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are important factors when making a determination, they are by no means the only ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover those issues and other important questions that you should be asking the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and class choices are available.

Start Your Interior Design Career By Requesting Free Info on Local Schools Below

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Auburn AL

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The main distinction between the two is the level of education required. Any person can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. However, working as an interior designer requires a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are trained to make work or residential spaces functional as well as attractive. On various occasions they may collaborate with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general areas that an interior designer in Auburn AL may specialize in:

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

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, including color schemes, lighting, furniture and acoustics. Designers need to be able to read blue prints and use graphic design in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Auburn Alabama interior designers employ a wide variety of skills that help bring about their ultimate creations.
 

Interior Designer Training Programs

There are 4 degree alternatives offered in interior design to receive the training required to begin your new career in Auburn AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you decide to enroll in, be sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are short explanations of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Interior Design Associate Degrees furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the profession. They take approximately 2 years to complete and programs are available 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 4 year programs that deliver more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the creative and technical facets of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a college graduate in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after attaining a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide options in specialized majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. Many students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mainly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a college or university level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

In order to work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", a number of states mandate that graduates of accredited degree programs become licensed. In some instances, 2 or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can take the licensing exam.

What to Ask Interior Designer Schools

Auburn Alabama interior designer bathroomAfter you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the process of assessing your school options. Location will be an important factor, particularly if the campus must be within commuting distance from your Auburn AL home. Of course if you have decided on attending an online school, or are able to relocate to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The fee for tuition will narrow down your options also. But choosing the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the optimal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you need to look at also, such as the accreditation and reputation of the program. Following are a list of questions that you may want to ask the programs you are considering to get those answers in addition to others in order to help you examine and subsequently pick the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Designer Degree Program Accredited? It's imperative to verify that the interior designer school and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most highly regarded in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools earning accreditation from the NASAD have gone through an extensive assessment of their programs and instructors. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Not only will it help confirm that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are exceptional, it may also help when obtaining financial aid or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, a number of Auburn Alabama employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, 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 in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States mandating licensing, a minimum of 2 years of occupational experience may be required as well. So in addition to furnishing an exceptional education, the Auburn AL college you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum requirements for licensing for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the College's Job Placement Rate? Once you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will probably need some assistance in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its graduates are in demand. It could also signify that the school has a substantial network of Auburn AL business contacts where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Auburn AL schools you are reviewing and ask what type of aid they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their new students. Some schools offer partial scholarships and others provide help in securing grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a college that has a higher tuition may effectively be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial assistance.

How Large are the Classes? Small classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you probably will receive limited individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Auburn AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If practical from your Auburn home, visit the college and attend a few classes. While there talk with a few 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 Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design school you choose provides classes the fit your active schedule. This is especially important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Auburn AL, verify that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, check that is an option also. Finally, ask what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Best Interior Design Program near Auburn Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Auburn AlabamaPicking the ideal interior designer school is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and fulfilling occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job no matter what major you have chosen. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are several points to consider before choosing a program, course or school. At a minimum, verify that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still essential that you complete your due diligence research. By doing so and following the balance of the suggestions provided in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with quality training and your desire to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Auburn Alabama.