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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Auburn AL

How to Enroll in the Best Interior Designer Program

Now that you have made a decision to enroll in an interior design college near Auburn AL, it's time to start the process of choosing a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you obtain the right training to put your skills to work. And since some states do require that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you could need preparation to pass a licensing exam as well. So it's vital that you do the proper research so that you can evaluate and compare each program that you are looking at before you make your ultimate decision. But where do you begin? A number of prospective students will kick off their research by searching for interior design programs near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While cost and location are relevant factors when making a decision, they should not be the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be considered as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are researching 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 options are available.

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Interior Design compared to Interior Decoration

interior designed living room in Auburn AL

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key distinction between the two is the amount of training required. Anyone can do business as an interior decorator if they have a basic knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, working as an interior designer requires formal training and in numerous states one must have an accredited Bachelor's or Associate Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living areas attractive as well as functional. On various projects they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are 2 general categories that an interior designer in Auburn AL may specialize in:

  • Residential Design. Interior Designers often work on existing homes as well as new construction. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one specific room, for instance bathrooms or kitchens.
  • Commercial Designing. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers often focus primarily on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but take notice of both. For instance, business reception areas and meeting rooms are areas where aesthetics may be stressed over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the main consideration.

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

Interior Designer Degree Options

There are four degree options offered in interior design to acquire the training necessary to launch your new profession in Auburn AL. Your selection will no doubt be influenced by your career objectives as well as the money and time that you have budgeted to invest in your education. But regardless of which degree program you decide to enroll in, make sure to select 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 addressed 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 profession. They take roughly two years to finish and programs are offered at many Alabama community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can commonly qualify for entry level jobs as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are 4 year programs that furnish more comprehensive training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative components of the trade needed to become a designer. They are the lowest degree needed by a graduating student 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 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 their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who desire to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs vary in length but are typically completed in three to five years.

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

What to Ask Interior Design Schools

Auburn Alabama interior designer bathroomOnce you have chosen the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can start the process of assessing your college options. Location will be a critical issue, especially if the campus needs to be within commuting distance from your Auburn AL residence. Of course if you are interested in attending an online school, or are prepared to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualifier. The expense for tuition will limit your choices also. But selecting the least expensive college or the one that is closest to your house are not the optimal ways to make your decision. There are other things that you should consider as well, including the accreditation and reputation of the school. Below are a list of questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and subsequently select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Design College Accredited? It's imperative to confirm that the interior design program and school that you select has been accredited by either a national or regional organization. One of the most respected in the industry is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just verify that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Not only will it help establish that the reputation of the college and the quality of the training are outstanding, it may also help when applying for financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not available for non-accredited schools. Also, many Auburn Alabama employers will only hire graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Prep you for Licensing? As we previously mentioned, some States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited school. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of work experience may be required as well. So aside from providing an outstanding education, the Auburn AL college you choose should also provide the suitable instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and fulfill the minimum requirements for licensing 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 undoubtedly need some support in finding your first position. Ask the colleges that you are looking at if they have a job assistance program. If so, find out what their job placement rates are. A higher rate is a good indication that the school and its programs are highly regarded within the interior design profession and its graduates are sought after. It could also indicate that the college has a sizable network of Auburn AL business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or employment after they graduate.

Is Financial Aid Offered? Get in touch with the financial aid departments for the Auburn AL colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design programs offer financial assistance to their new students. Certain schools provide partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be emphasized again that selecting an accredited college is essential for qualification in most cases. Often a college that has a higher tuition may ultimately be cheaper than its counterparts because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to personalized instruction. If classes are larger, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Auburn AL schools you are looking at what their typical teacher to student ratios are. If convenient from your Auburn home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there 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 Accessible that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, confirm that the interior design college you select offers classes the fit your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you plan to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evening or on weekends near Auburn AL, verify that those classes are available. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, check that is an alternative also. Finally, check what the procedure is for making up classes missed because of work, family or illness.

Enroll in the Right Interior Design Program near Auburn Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Auburn AlabamaChoosing the right interior designer program is an important first step toward starting your career in this artistic and rewarding occupation. Finding a college where you will receive your training and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting job regardless of what field you have decided on. As with any undertaking to attain an advanced education, there are many things to consider before enrolling in a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still imperative that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively evaluate and compare interior design programs so that you can make the right ultimate selection. And with superior training and your determination to succeed, you can accomplish your goal of becoming an interior designer in Auburn Alabama.