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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Auburn AL

How to Select the Best Interior Design School

Now that you have decided to enroll in an interior design degree program near Auburn AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing commercial or residential interiors, it's important that you receive the proper training to put your talents 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 examination also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each school that you are looking at prior to making your final selection. But exactly where do you start? Many prospective students will kick off their research by looking for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant issues when making a determination, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifications such as accreditation and reputation need to be taken into consideration also. We will cover 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 talk a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are available.

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Interior Decoration compared to Interior Design

interior designed living room in Auburn AL

Many people mistake interior decoration for interior design. The main distinction between the two is the level of training required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they possess a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make living or work areas attractive as well as functional. On many projects they may team up with architects and building engineers. There are two general categories that an interior designer in Auburn AL can specialize in:

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

There are numerous areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer needs to learn, for example color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They must be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to produce their visions. From selecting wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui principles, Auburn Alabama interior designers implement a wide variety of skills that help bring about their final designs.
 

Interior Design Degree Programs

There are four degree options offered in interior design to obtain the training needed to launch your new career in Auburn AL. Your decision will undoubtedly be motivated by your career goals as well as the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make certain to choose one that is accredited. Accreditation is required in order to qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be discussed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief descriptions of the interior design degrees that are available.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design furnish the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take roughly two years to complete and programs are available at many Alabama trade schools and junior colleges. Graduates can usually qualify for entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more extensive training than the Associate Degree. They deal with the technical and creative components of the business 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 attaining the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide choices in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to enhance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who wish to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are usually completed in 3 to 5 years.

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

Why Study to Become an Interior Designer?

Auburn AL student attending interior design school onlineThere are many options available to you once you graduate and enter the field of interior design.  If you’ve got an entrepreneurial spirit you may become self-employed and open your own interior design shop. You might also work for a small or larger design firm. Designers have careers creating interiors for businesses, hospitals, government buildings, as well as private residences. Rarely is a design career a 9 to 5 job. You’ll need to be flexible, patient, and persistent to get your career off the ground. But you will have the opportunity to earn an attractive income as well as the personal satisfaction of creating beautiful living and working spaces.

What to Ask Interior Designer Colleges

After you have decided on the interior designer degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of reviewing your college options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school has to be within driving distance from your Auburn AL residence. Naturally if you are interested in attending a school online, or are willing to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The cost of tuition will narrow down your choices as well. But selecting the cheapest college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the ideal ways to make your decision. There are other issues that you should consider also, such as the reputation and accreditation of the school. Following are a few concerns that you may want to address with the programs you are reviewing to get those answers as well as others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer College Accredited? It's necessary to verify that the interior design college and program that you choose has been accredited by either a national or regional agency. One of the most respected in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Colleges earning accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. 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 establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when obtaining financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, many Auburn Alabama employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level jobs.

Does the College Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, some States do require that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination as well as a degree from an accredited school. And in several of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required also. Therefore besides furnishing an exceptional education, the Auburn AL school you enroll in should also furnish the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the Program's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and earned your interior designer certification, you will probably need some help in finding your first job. Ask the programs that you are reviewing if they have a job assistance program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the school and its programs are held in high esteem within the interior design profession and its graduates are in demand. It might also signify that the college has a significant network of Auburn AL business relationships where they can refer students to secure internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Auburn AL schools you are reviewing and find out what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior designer schools provide financial aid to their incoming students. Various colleges provide partial scholarships and others provide help in obtaining grants or federal student loans. It must be emphasized again that choosing an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Sometimes a school that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its competitors because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Large are the Classes? Smaller classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual instruction from the teachers. Ask the Auburn AL schools you are reviewing what their average teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Auburn home, visit the college and monitor a few classes. While there speak with a few students and find out what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching approaches are and what their credentials are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Fit your Schedule? Finally, verify that the interior design college you choose provides classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly significant if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Auburn AL, confirm that those classes are available. If you have a full-time job and can only enroll part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the protocol is for making up classes missed due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Interior Design Program near Auburn Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Auburn AlabamaSelecting the ideal interior designer college is an important first step toward starting your career in this creative and gratifying profession. Searching for a school where you will receive your education and cultivate your skills in a particular area of study is a difficult job no matter what field you have chosen. As with any endeavor to acquire a higher education, there are a number of points to consider before choosing a course, program or school. At a minimum, confirm that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. But it is still imperative that you complete your due diligence research. 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 quality training and your drive to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Auburn Alabama.