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Schools Offering Interior Design Programs near Auburn AL

How to Choose the Right Interior Designer Course

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 selecting a school. Even if you have always had a talent for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's essential that you receive the appropriate training to put your natural abilities to work. And since some states do mandate that interior designers become licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing exam also. So it's very important that you perform the appropriate research so that you can assess and compare each school that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But where do you start? Some prospective students will start their research by looking for interior design colleges near their residence and then comparing tuition costs. While cost and location are relevant variables when making a determination, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifications such as reputation and accreditation must be considered as well. We will address those issues and other vital questions that you should be asking 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 class options are available.

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Interior Decoration vs Interior Design

interior designed living room in Auburn AL

Often people confuse interior decoration for interior design. The key distinction between them is the level of education required. Anyone can work as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a talent for decorating interior spaces. However, conducting business as an interior designer requires a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are educated to make work or living spaces attractive as well as functional. On some occasions they may work together with architects and building engineers. There are two general areas that an interior designer in Auburn AL may specialize in:

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

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

Interior Designer Degree Programs

There are four degree alternatives available in interior design to get the training required to start your new profession in Auburn AL. Your decision will no doubt be motivated by your career objectives in addition to the money and time that you have budgeted to devote to 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 qualify for the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam required in several states. More will be covered on additional accreditation benefits later. Following are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design provide the minimum level of education required to enter the field. They take approximately two years to complete and programs are offered at numerous Alabama vocational schools and community colleges. Graduates can typically qualify for entry level jobs 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 creative and technical components of the trade required to become a designer. They are the lowest credential needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs furnish advanced training in design after achieving a Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees offer alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as residential bathrooms or business offices. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in their careers.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate programs are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The degree programs differ in length but are normally completed in 3 to 5 years.

To work professionally and use 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 professional experience may be required before a candidate can take the licensing examination.

Why Do You Want to Be 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 Design Schools

Once you have decided on the interior design degree that you would like to earn, you can begin the task of analyzing your college options. Location will be an important issue, particularly if the college has to be within commuting distance from your Auburn AL residence. Obviously 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 fee for tuition will limit your choices as well. But picking the most affordable college or the one that is closest to home are not the ideal ways to make your selection. There are other things that you should consider also, including the accreditation and reputation of the college. Following are a few questions that you may want to address with the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers as well as others in order to help you compare and ultimately select the appropriate degree program.

Is the Interior Design Degree Program Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior design school and program that you choose has earned accreditation from 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). Colleges obtaining accreditation from the NASAD have undergone a demanding evaluation of their teachers and programs. Just confirm that both the degree program and the college have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. 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 colleges. Also, a number of Auburn Alabama employers will only employ graduates of accredited schools for entry level positions.

Does the School Ready you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do mandate that interior designers get licensed. This would necessitate a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. So besides providing an outstanding education, the Auburn AL college you choose should also provide the suitable training to pass the NCIDQ examination and meet the minimum licensing requirements for Alabama or the State where you will be working.

What is the School'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 job. Ask the schools 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 college and its programs are highly esteemed 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 place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Offered? Contact the financial assistance departments for the Auburn AL colleges you are evaluating and ask what kind of assistance they offer. A number of interior design programs offer financial aid to their new students. Certain schools offer partial scholarships and others provide support in obtaining federal student loans or grants. It must be stressed again that selecting an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. In some cases a college that has a higher tuition may actually be cheaper than its counterparts because they provide more generous financial aid.

How Big are the Classrooms? Small classes are more intimate and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive little individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Auburn AL schools you are reviewing what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Auburn home, visit the school and sit in on a couple of classes. While there speak with a few 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 Available that Fit your Schedule? Last, make sure that the interior design college you choose offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you will continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evening or on weekends near Auburn AL, make sure that those classes are offered. If working full-time means you can only enroll part-time, verify that is an option as well. Finally, ask what the procedure is for making up classes missed due to work, sickness or family obligations.

Enroll in the Right Interior Designer Program near Auburn Alabama

interior designed kitchen in Auburn AlabamaSelecting the ideal interior design school is a crucial initial step toward starting your career in this artistic and fulfilling occupation. Finding a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a particular area of study is a challenging task no matter what major you have decided on. As with any undertaking to receive a higher education, there are many things to think about before selecting a program, course or school. At a minimum, make sure that the program and design college are both accredited and highly regarded in the profession. However it is still essential that you carry out your due diligence research. By doing so and following the remaining recommendations presented in this article, you will be able to properly evaluate 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.